Contraception Program Decreases Teen Births in ColoradoPosted: July 10, 2014
The Colorado Family Planning Initiative, a privately funded state health initiative to reduce teen pregnancies by providing access to affordable contraceptives, has led to a 40 percent drop in teen birth rates over five years and millions of dollars in healthcare expenditure savings for Colorado. Before the program, the state ranked an abysmal 29th-lowest in teen birth rates among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since the program began in 2009, however, the teen birth rate in Colorado has decreased from 37 per 1,000 girls to 22 and the teen abortion rate has dropped by 35 percent.
In addition to dramatically improving the lives of underprivileged teenage girls in Colorado, the family planning program has saved $5.68 in Medicaid costs for the state for every dollar spent on contraceptives. The numbers continue to prove that family planning services including comprehensive sex education and access to contraceptives are a fiscally conservative approach to reducing teen pregnancy. In fact, in 2010 alone the program saved the state $42.5 million in public funds. This is proof that improving women’s access to long-lasting reversible contraceptives can reduce the economic and social costs of teen pregnancy in every state. High rates of teenage pregnancies can lead to more birth defects, lower birth weight, elective abortions, maternal depression, increased risk of child abuse, and a high risk of physical violence against expectant mother—and the costs fall on every Colorado taxpayer. Instead, giving women and their families the tools to take personal responsibility for their sexual health benefits all through higher educational attainment by the mother, earlier prenatal care, and increased rates of breastfeeding. The success of family planning in Colorado continues to encourage mainstream Republicans across the country to focus on proven, evidence-based solutions to reduce the rate of unplanned pregnancies and STDs.