To quote social policy expert Isabel Sawhill, “If we want to reduce poverty [in the U.S.], one of the simplest, fastest and cheapest things we could do would be to make sure that as few people as possible become parents before they actually want to.”
An important state initiative to do that is Colorado’s Family Planning Initiative. Launched in 2009, it has provided 36,000 long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) to low-income women through family planning health centers, while also increasing health care provider education and training. Since it’s launch, Colorado’s teen birth rate has been cut nearly in half: Both the birth rate and abortion rate for women ages 15-19 fell 48 percent from 2009 through 2014. Moreover, for every dollar invested in the LARC program, an estimated $5.85 was avoided within a three-year period by the Colorado Medicaid program.
To learn more, we’re joined by Dr. Larry Wolk, the Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.