Colorado teen pregnancy drops 40 percent---how they did it


Colorado teen pregnancy drops 40 percent---how they did it

In the last six years, the state of Colorado has lowered its teen birth rate and abortions by 40 percent thanks to free birth control.  

The state’s health department “ensured free birth control to more than 30,000 women” from 2009 to 2015 with intrauterine devices (IUD) -- long-acting and reversible contraceptives (LARC) -- “at little or no cost,” CBS News reports.

Typically getting an IUD could cost around $600 to $1,000 upfront and some insurers do not cover the full cost.

“Over the last few years, there’s been a lot more attention placed on the success of LARC because unlike pills or barrier methods like condoms, LARC has a very high success rate when it comes to preventing unintended pregnancy,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, chief medical officer for the state’s health department, to CBS News.

Because of the free LARC, teen births fell 40 percent and abortions 35 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that compared to IUDs, oral contraceptives “have a failure rate of 9 percent, while condoms have a failure rate of 18 to 21 percent,” CBS News reports.

IUDs are effective for five to 10 years and have a failure rate below 1 percent -- which seems like a better deal. The American Academy of Pediatrics even updated its recommendations to have IUDs be the “first line of contraceptives in preventing teen pregnancy,” CBS News reports.

Colorado was able to get funding for this expensive form of birth control through a private grant from the LARC program, but the state department is looking for more funds as the money runs out.

“We are working closely with our partners who believe in this initiative to find the funding necessary to continue providing contraceptive choices to young women across Colorado,” Wolk said in a statement.

Dr. Jennifer Francis, an adolescent-medicine specialist, told CBS News Colorado’s efforts “will hopefully persuade federal mandates to ensure all insurance companies to provide full reimbursement for LARC, 100 percent of the time for all women.”

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