by Caitlin Westerson, Policy Manager

Birth control is great stuff. It gives women the opportunity to make decisions about if, and when, they are ready to become a parent.  Even better than its existence (although that in and of itself is pretty great) is the number of different types and methods you have when choosing contraception that works best for you. So far, there are 18 FDA approved methods, and about a bagillion different types. Think about it like this: methods are categories and types are all the things that fall into each of the categories—so, category: pills, type: Ortho Tri Cyclen. With hundreds of different types available, the possibilities are endless—or so it seems.

While the possibilities do seem endless for many women, they can still be limited for some. Thankfully in Colorado, it’s pretty easy to get the kind of birth control you want or need—and it has been for a while.  In 2010, then 20-year-old Jamie Newton found out for herself.

Jamie was unhappy with her current form of birth control, the pill, because of the bad side effects, and she no longer wanted to deal with them—understandable given her hectic college schedule and general dislike for moodiness, a sentiment most women share. She knew she had options beyond the pill, so she made an appointment with the local health department.

They explained to her the pros and cons of different methods and types of birth control and suggested an IUD. Her provider explained that IUD’s are a great option for young women because they have a really high success rate and last up to 10 years. Seriously. Really high. Less than one pregnancy per 100 women, each year. For Jamie, the only drawback to this method was the cost.

Generally, an IUD, or intrauterine device, can cost up to $1,000. That’s a lot of money for most people—especially young college students. Lucky for Jamie, though, Colorado was looking out. The Colorado Family Planning Initiative that has achieved unprecedented success rates in reducing the number of unintended pregnancies was there to help! The funding provided by this program to clinics like the one Jamie went to, helps young women pay for methods of long acting reversible contraception (LARC)—IUD’s, implants, and injections.  For Jamie, this meant that getting an IUD was a cool $100; for Colorado, this meant a 42% drop in abortion rates, millions saved in Medicaid funding, and over 30,000 women getting access to LARC’s.  For more information about how great this program really is, see CCHI’s previous blog on it here.

The private funding stream for this program ended in 2014, but earlier this year, Colorado lawmakers voted to keep $2.5 million in funding for it in the budget through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. What. A. Win. The Colorado Family Planning Initiative is a jaw-dropping success for thousands of women across Colorado, especially those like Jamie.

Way to be a success story, Colorado. 

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