In Colorado, a contraception initiative effectively reduced the teenage birthrate by 40% from 2009 to 2013 while teenage abortions dropped 42%. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) carried out the initiative as an aggressive outreach program using private money since the state legislature did not approve the program. Private foundations have funded the distribution of more than 30,000 intrauterine devices (IUDs) and contraceptive implants at 68 family planning clinics across the state at little to no cost to young women. The contraceptive implant is a very small plastic rod that contains a small amount of hormones and is inserted just under the skin of the arm. It can prevent pregnancy effectively for 3-5 years once inserted and can be easily removed at any time to restore normal fertility.
Unfortunately, the private grant is running out and the CDPHE has been searching for additional funds to continue the program. It would be in the state General Assembly’s best interest to provide the needed funds for several reasons. Firstly, the failure rate of the implants and IUDs is minuscule, which reduces unplanned pregnancies and in turn makes it easier for young women to finish high school or college. Secondly, increased use of these contraceptives can save taxpayers money by reducing spending on prenatal care, deliveries and post-pregnancy care for poor mothers and their children. The state health department estimates that every dollar spent on the long-lasting contraceptive program saved $5.85 for the state Medicaid program, which covers more than three-quarters of teenage pregnancies and births. Lastly, the Affordable Care Act requires insurance plans to cover contraceptives and this program proves is can reduce unintended pregnancies, which in turn reduces costs across the board. Reducing those costs and continuing to fund this contraception program is crucial to ensure that all women have access to the kinds of contraceptives that have produced such extraordinary results in Colorado.
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Alison Killian is a recent graduate of Grove City College who majored in Business Management and minored in Biology Studies. She is a contributor to Medical Groups and passionate about all facets of healthcare. She plans on continuing work in the healthcare field especially in management. She is very interested in healthcare innovation and finding ways to improve the current system. She hopes to go back to school in a few years to earn a degree in medicine.