What happens when you give low-income teens (and other women) who come to seek the help of family planning free birth control methods? Well, the only thing that makes sense: there are less teen pregnancies. Of course, teen pregnancy isn’t the only thing this program has helped to prevent. Unsurprisingly, less pregnant teens has also resulted in a much lower rate of teen abortions. Who would have guessed it?
Under the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the state has been trying out a new program thanks to a private grant and some smart planning. Named the Colorado Family Planning Initiative, this program looks to provide those lower-income women with access to no-cost, or low-cost intrauterine devices (IUDs). The idea here was if people were going to be going out and having sex, this would prevent them from getting pregnant, which would avoid them coming back for government assistance. The effects were better than most imagined.
From 2009-2013, this measure effectively led to a 40 percent drop in the teen birth rate as well as a 42percent drop in the state’s teen abortion rate. Of course, this kind of result would be somewhat expected, but what really shows how valuable this might be was another statistic from 2008-2013. During this time, the Colorado WIC program saw a 23 percent drop as well. In case you are unfamiliar, WIC is a program that helps provide low-income mothers with what they need to take care of their babies, mainly food, formula and the like.
While the idea may be great, the reality is funding is always the issue with programs like this. In the case of Colorado, they actually received private grant money to start this program and less than 10 years later they are already faced with the issue of how they are going to continue without outside additional funding. The question is, wouldn’t it be worth reducing the demand for abortions? Not to mention, diminishing the need for reliance on government programs like WIC?
Of course, you might wonder why they can’t help maintain this program by using some of the money they save through those programs like WIC. Unfortunately, not everyone is on board the free birth control train and some social conservatives are insisting this sort of program promotes promiscuity, leading to more teen sex. This would make sense, except for the fact that by age 19, 70 percent of teens have already had sex. Not to mention, there was no indication that teen sex rose, but instead these seemingly negative situations all dropped. Sounds like a win-win, right?
Regardless of where you stand on each of these individual issues, the fact remains: this system works in Colorado and significantly less people are getting abortions because of it. Wouldn’t it make sense to accept that this is a step in the right direction at least?