Long-lasting success

Colorado initiative leads to big decline in teen pregnancy

Benjamin Rasmussen/The New York Times

The rate of teenage pregnancy in Colorado fell by 40 percent between 2009-2013, and there was a 42 percent decline in abortions after the state offered free intrauterine implants and devices, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. For the past six years, Colorado has offered these long-acting IUDs and implants that prevent pregnancy for several years to those who could not otherwise afford them, and the results have been staggering. In 2009, half of all births in the poorer regions of the state happened before the mother turned 21; by 2014 that age was raised to 24, giving the women time to finish a college education. While there has been a general decline in both teen pregnancy and abortion in the U.S., experts say that the magnitude of the decline in Colorado exceeds the national average, further proving the success of the program. The program is a real-world version of a study conducted at Washington University in St. Louis, and the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation funded both. The professor who ran the study, Dr. Jeffrey Peipert, said “the difference in effectiveness is profound” as the failure rate of the implants is less than one percent while that of the pill is closer to five percent. However, the private funding for the program is running out, leaving people to rely on the Affordable Care Act, which promised free contraception, but which people have had numerous issues obtaining.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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