Vox: Colorado offered free birth control — and teen births fell by 40 percent

There’s been a lot written here (and in a bunch of other places) about the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision allowing Hobby Lobby to refuse to provide health insurance coverage for contraceptives for its female employees, and shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision, I noted on Twitter that the Hobby Lobby decision may have seemed like victory for conservatives, but a was actually a loss because it would likely result in a need for more abortions.

As if to prove my point, German Lopez of Vox has an excellent piece about how Colorado provided free or low-cost birth control to low-income women and then saw a nearly 40% drop in teen births.

A program that provides contraceptives to low-income women contributed to a 40-percent drop in Colorado’s teen birth rate over five years, according to state officials.

The program, known as the Colorado Family Planning Initiative, provides intrauterine devices (IUDs) or implants at little to no cost for low-income women at 68 family planning clinics in Colorado.

The teen abortion rate dropped by 35 percent from 2009 to 2012 in counties served by the program, according to the state’s estimates.

Young women served by the family planning clinics also accounted for about three-fourths of the overall decline in Colorado’s teen birth rate during the same time period. And the infant caseload for Colorado WIC, a nutrition program for low-income women and their babies, fell by 23 percent from 2008 to 2013.


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