January 27, 2015 — Colorado Rep. KC Becker (D) said she intends to propose a bill that would use $5 million from the state's general fund to continue a program that helps improve access to long-acting reversible contraceptives among low-income women, the Coloradoan reports.
According to the Coloradoan, Becker said she has one Republican co-sponsor and is looking for additional commitments for the measure (Coltrain, Coloradoan, 1/25).
The Colorado Family Planning Initiative offers no- or low-cost long-acting reversible contraceptives, 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 $25 million private donation. To continue, the program needs $5 million in state funding (Women's Health Policy Report, 12/2/14).
According to the Coloradoan, the initiative has provided more than 30,000 IUDs and other LARC methods to low-income, uninsured or underinsured Colorado women.
Since the initiative began, the state's teen birth rate has decreased by 40%.
Further, in that period, the state has saved about $23 million from averted Medicaid costs associated with birth, the Coloradoan reports. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment officials have predicted the program could save the state up to $40 million in Medicaid costs that would otherwise go toward pre- and postnatal care (Coloradoan, 1/25).
Gov. John Hickenlooper's (D) budget proposal includes a funding request to continue the program. However, the request must come from a standalone bill because Colorado law prohibits state money from back-filling initiatives launched with private funding (Women's Health Policy Report, 12/2/14).
Measures to secure funding for the program could face opposition, as some conservative state politicians believe that IUDs induce abortion, according to the Coloradoan. However, Becker is working to clarify that IUDs do not cause abortions. According to the Coloradoan, health care experts have said IUDs are not abortifacients because they primarily prevent pregnancy by preventing fertilization.
Larry Wolk, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said, "The bottom line is we've seen a 40 percent decrease in our unintended pregnancy rate amongst these young women in the state; we've seen a drop in the rate of abortions; we've seen a decrease in the number of women and kids signing up for supplemental government program[s]" (Coloradoan, 1/25).