Since 2009, the Colorado Family Planning Initiative has decreased the rate of teen births and abortions, while saving the state more than $80 million in Medicaid costs, according to a press release.
“When people see the real gains we have made in supporting low-income women and families, in reducing the abortion rate, in reducing the teen pregnancy rate and in avoiding costs to programs such as Medicaid, they understand it’s a win for our entire state,” Larry Wolk, MD, MSPH, chief medical officer and executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said in a press release. “The immediate return on investment is well-documented by the outcomes.”
The Colorado Family Planning Initiative, started in 2009 with assistance from a $25 million grant from the Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation, has supplied women with more than 30,000 long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC), such as intrauterine devices and temporary hormonal implants. Health officials based the program out of 28 Title X family planning clinics in the 37 counties where 95% of Colorado’s low-income population resides.
The state health department reports that since the program was launched, the birthrate among adolescents has decreased by 40%, and the state has had a 35% reduction in teenage abortions.
Despite leading the nation in providing effective teenage birth control, future funding for the program is uncertain after the Colorado Senate recently rejected a bill to allocate $5 million to the program. Health officials now are seeking more private funding.
“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. “Making sure Colorado women have access to safe and effective contraception is an investment in their futures and ours.”