I have always wondered why birth control pills were the “easier” choice for women compared to other forms of contraceptives. In high school, I tried birth control pills and in college I attempted to wear the birth control patches, but all of these methods impacted my health and emotions. For some reason I am unable to handle synthetic hormones, so taking the pill is very harmful on my body. I looked into the copper IUD and decided that this was my best choice, but it is something that was never an option when I talked to doctors about my situation. Ever since I got my IUD inserted, I have been in the mindset that so many others would benefit from a copper IUD rather than relying on everyday birth control pills. My copper IUD is viable for the next ten years, I can literally leave it in until I am thirty-one years old.
I came across a tweet about the state of Colorado’s choice to provide IUDs to teens and women in low-income situations. I researched it some more, and what they are doing is amazing and show advancement in the way we think about women’s reproductive health. The headlines about this topic read, “State IUD program leads to decline in pregnancies, abortions,” “Colorado teen pregnancies dropped 20 percent near these clinics,” they have seriously found a way to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies without sacrificing the rights of the women involved.
The article titled, “IUD program leads to big decline in teen pregnancies, abortions in Colorado,” written by Jennifer Brown explained the basis behind the decision to provide teens with this option. Brown wrote, “Thanks to a grant from billionaire Warren Buffett’s family, Colorado spent $28 million during eight years supplying IUDs to 75 public health clinics throughout the state, several based inside high schools. From 2009 to 2016, the program provided 43,713 contraceptive implants to women.”
Their plan is simple, they provide teens and young women with free IUDs and $1 per pack birth control pills. Before this program, an IUD would cost someone around $350 to have it inserted, now women are given the option to have it put in for free. These are long-term contraceptives that allow women the choice to not get pregnant before their desired time, and they don’t have to stress about taking a pill every day. Colorado also has laws that allow teens under the age of eighteen to receive these IUDs and birth control without parental consent, so they are reaching a large group of women who probably would not have had access prior to these advancements.
The results of this decision are so positive and have actually saved the state money, not to mention, prevented many young women from having an unwanted pregnancy. Colorado’s teen birth rate fell 54% and the teen abortion rate declined 64% within the past eight years. These women are being spared from having unwanted pregnancies, as well as not having to go through an abortion. The article stated that this program has saved the state of Colorado roughly $70 million dollars “for labor and delivery, well-baby check-ups, food stamps and child-care assistance because of fewer births to teen moms.”
This advancement in women’s reproductive health has been one of the best state decisions I’ve personally seen. In the news, I see articles about people against abortion, for abortion, articles glamorizing teen pregnancy, bashing teen pregnancy, which is all unhelpful in the scheme of a woman’s life. Providing teens with these long-term contraceptives eliminates all of the unwarranted opinions about a woman’s body and reproductive choices. They are provided with a free option to not have an unintended pregnancy, therefore putting their future in their own hands.
This originally caught my interest first because I am a huge supporter of IUDs, but also because the funding was about to run out for the program. Brown commented on the current standing of the program, “The eight-year grant is gone, but Colorado lawmakers increased funding for the family planning program by $2.5 million per year, up to $4.1 million. Also, Colorado health clinics have received more Medicaid funding because of the Affordable Care Act, which expanded eligibility for government insurance for low-income residents. Medicaid reimbursements to the 75 clinics have risen from $500,000 to about $5 million annually.” So, it seems like this program is here to stay which is a huge benefit to teens in the future.
Colorado can be a model for other states, they provide teens with the tools to make a conscious choice about their reproductive health at no cost. They are allowing teens to be teens and not have to worry about taking a pill every day. IUDs provide a sense of freedom that is unmatched to other forms of birth control. Hopefully this will show other communities that there are more avenues to take instead of cutting off options for women.