(April 20) – Rep. KC Becker’s bipartisan bill to reduce teen pregnancies and abortions won final House passage this morning.
The state’s family planning program, which provides long-acting reversible contraception like IUDs through clinics across the state, was created by a private $23 million donation in 2008, but will run out of funding this year. HB15-1194, sponsored by Reps. Becker, D-Boulder, and Don Coram, R-Montrose, provides $5 million in state funding to continue the program.
The program is designed to prevent low-income women from having unintended pregnancies. Since 2009, there has been a 37 percent decrease in the birth rate for unmarried women under 25 who have not finished high school and a 42 percent reduction in the abortion rate among women ages 15 to 19. Before 2009 only one in 170 young, low-income women in Colorado received an IUD or contraceptive device, but by 2011, one in 15 young, low-income women received an IUD or contraceptive device.
“The program has had a positive impact on the lives of thousands of Colorado women, and this bill will allow it continue,” Rep. Becker said. “By providing access to contraceptive devices we are giving Colorado women and families the most effective means to make decisions about when to start a family.”
Women who have a planned pregnancy are more likely to be economically independent and less likely to be reliant on public assistance. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has estimated that every dollar invested in the program has saved Colorado’s Medicaid program $5.85.
After today’s 37-26 vote, the bill heads to the Senate.