Justice

Colorado Is Promoting Birth Control. Guess What Has Happened to Teen Pregnancy

Colorado is hoping to expand the purview of their efforts to reduce teen pregnancy rates and help keep kids in school. A pretty great idea, don't you think? Especially when one considers that the state recently reduced teen pregnancy by 40 percent simply by giving out free birth control. Turns out when you educate people rather than try and prohibit them from something, it works out better for everyone! How does it feel to be so wrong, anti-safe-sex education naysayers?

The bill, HB1079, is slated to hit the state's House Appropriations Committee on Friday, and would extend a program aimed at reducing student pregnancy and school dropouts through September 1st, 2020.

As it stands, HB1079 is a logical and intelligent companion to another bill that's already done gangbusters for reducing teen pregnancy in the state. Administered by the Colorado Family Planning Initiative, House Bill 15-1194 reduced teen pregnancy and abortion rates in the counties the program served simply by affording teens access to free birth control, IUDs, and family planning services. According to state estimates, teen abortion rates have dropped by 35 percent from 2009 to 2012 and the government found that young women served by these clinics accounted for three-fourths of the overall decline in Colorado's teen birth rate. This has also resulted in a decline in the infant caseload for their low-income nutrition program — Colorado WIC — by 23 percent from 2008 to 2013.

"This initiative has saved Colorado millions of dollars," Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a July statement. "But more importantly, it has helped thousands of young Colorado women continue their education, pursue their professional goals and postpone pregnancy until they are ready to start a family."

And on top of that, Colorado's teen birth rate has declined much faster than that of its peers. Between 2008 and 2012, the state went from 29th to 19th lowest teen birth rate in the country. Turns out education is power after all!