Colorado Has An Extremely Successful ‘Pro-Life’ Program, But Conservatives Hate It

Well, the proof is in the pudding, and there is no denying this kind of success. For six years, Colorado has been involved in one of the largest birth control experiments to date: offering no-cost long-acting birth control, like Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) and implants, to teens and poor women.

The results are in, and they are just what any good liberal would predict. The New York Times reports, “the birthrate among teenagers across the state plunged by 40 percent from 2009 to 2013, while their rate of abortions fell by 42 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.”

In addition to fewer teen moms, there was also a decline in unplanned pregnancies for single women who were younger than 25. It is reported that the locations that saw the most drastic changes were the poorest areas of the state. For example, when this experiment started in 2009, half of all first births in the most economically depressed areas were to women who were under 21 years of age. In 2014, that age increased to 24, which shows more promising futures for young women who are more likely to seek education and opportunities while childless.

Now, approximately 20 percent of women who are 18 to 44 years old in The Centennial State are protected from unplanned pregnancy by using a long-acting form of birth control. These numbers are in stark contrast to the national average of 7 percent.

It seems this would be a program that the pro-life folks would rally behind, right? Obviously making long-term contraceptives available to young women who are most at risk of unplanned pregnancy, which has proven to reduce the amount of unplanned pregnancies, is certainly reducing abortions. That’s pro-life, right? Apparently not. Apparently the only pro-life alternative is for young women to pay, and pay dearly, for unintended pregnancies. After all, if they would have “just kept their legs closed,” right?

This mentality is illustrated even more with the next bit of information. Conservatives are often the ones who gloat about being the fiscally responsible ones, although their track record doesn’t typically reflect that. However, let’s say their lip service about being the great budget managers is truth for a moment (it isn’t, but we will go with it.)

For several years a private grant was funding this highly successful program, however, those funds are now running out. Of course, the Colorado General Assembly reviewed funding options for the program, but additional funding was not approved. It was rejected even though the program is reported to save the state money with every device provided – to the tune of $5.85 in the Medicaid budget for ever dollar spent on long-acting birth control.

So not only does this program reduce the amount of unplanned pregnancies AND reduce the amount of abortions performed – but it also saves the state money – and yet, lawmakers still wouldn’t fund it.

Why would that be? Why wouldn’t they want to truly make a difference in the unwanted pregnancy and abortion rates?

Well, the answer seems fairly simple. This program empowers young women. It provides young women choice surrounding not only their reproductive health, but also their sexuality. It empowers women to make decisions and seek opportunity. These conservative lawmakers and their ilk prefer a punitive approach to women’s health and opportunity. Conservatives prefer to limit access to contraceptives, complain about welfare queens, limit abortion access, force women who make such “unsavory choices” to live with their mistakes because. . . rawr!

If women can freely have sex, without the threat of pregnancy or the threat of being shamed for “opening her legs” how can these “morally superior” individuals possibly maintain a sexually oppressive status quo?

They can’t. And, that scares the shit out of them.

Featured image via Flickr