Colorado's Long-Acting Birth Control Program

When Colorado provided free intrauterine devices and implants to teenagers and poor women in Colorado between 2009 and 2013, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment saw a significant drop in teenage birthrate and overall rate of abortions. Pregnancy rate amount teenagers dropped by 40 percent while abortion rates fell by 42 percent between these years.  

The results were especially felt by some of the poorest areas in Colorado, according to the New York Times, where half of all births in 2009 occurred in women under 21 and living in low-income areas in the state. 

By 2014, half of first births did not occur until the women had turned 24, a difference that advocates say gives young women time to finish their educations and to gain a foothold in an increasingly competitive job market.
— New York Times


In a report last year, The American Academy of Pediatrics even recommended long-acting  birth control as a "first-line contraceptive choice," for teenagers. 

Here are some other important numbers we saw in the article:

  • 1 in 5 women between the ages of 18 and 44 now use long-acting birth control in Colorado while only about seven percent of American women use them.
  • A majority of women using long-acting birth control are teenagers and poor women, according to the New York Times.  
  • Out of 6.6 million pregnancies per year in the United States, half are unintended.
  • Colorado’s health department reported that for every dollar spent on long-acting birth control, $5.85 in Medicaid costs can be saved. 
  • Colorado’s birth rate decline between 2010 and 2012 has saved an estimated $49 million to $111 million in birth-related Medicaid costs in the state. 

Read the full New York Times article here