October 26, 2015 — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced last week that a program designed to increase access to long-acting reversible contraceptives continues help curb abortion and birthrates for teenagers in the state, although its future funding remains unclear, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports (Rodgers, Colorado Springs Gazette, 10/22).
The Colorado Family Planning Initiative offers no- or low-cost LARCs, such as intrauterine devices and hormonal implants, to low-income women at 68 clinics throughout the state. The initiative was established as a five-year pilot program through a private donation of about $25 million. The funding expired in July, and the program subsequently had longer waiting lists and was not able to offer as many services.
The initiative has provided more than 30,000 IUDs and other LARC methods to low-income, uninsured or underinsured Colorado women. Initial data indicated that the state's teen birth rate had decreased by 40%, and that the abortion rate among teens had decreased by 34%.
In May, a Colorado Senate committee killed a measure (HB 15-1194) that would have provided $5 million in funding to continue the program. However, state officials have said the program would remain in place. Meanwhile, state officials in August announced that several organizations have pledged a total of about $2 million to temporarily fund the program (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/28). That funding is projected to last through June 30, 2016, according to the Gazette.
Latest Data Shows Higher Impact
CDPH on Wednesday released new data showing that the birth rates and abortion rates among teenagers in the state declined by 48% between 2009 and 2014. According to state officials, the program also has saved Medicaid roughly $79 million between 2010 and 2012.
CDPH officials said they are continuing to look for more permanent funding for the program (Colorado Springs Gazette, 10/22).