What do you mean by “long-acting maintenance-free birth control?”
We mean Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) and hormonal implants (Nexplanon), a category commonly referred to as long-acting reversible contraception or LARCs.
Why should a woman choose a LARC over other cheaper forms of birth control?
LARCs protect women from getting pregnant for 4 to 12 years depending on the device chosen. These devices have proven 20 times more effective in practice than other forms of birth control.
Why are LARCs more effective than other forms of birth control?
LARCs are user-friendly. Once the LARC is in place, a woman no longer has to remember to do anything to prevent pregnancy. She only has to act if she Chooses When to have a child.
Why don’t more women use LARCS?
Although less expensive in the long run, an IUD or hormonal implant can cost as much as $1,000. While many uninsured women can pull together the $25 a month or so for less effective forms of birth control, the initial cost of a LARC is more than most can afford.
Doesn’t Colorado already have a program like this?
Well, yes and no. A private foundation ran a pilot program called The Colorado Family Planning Initiative from 2009 to 2014, providing LARCs to low income women throughout the state. Although the program was a success by almost every measure, the state was unable to fund the project when private funding ran out in 2014. In the 2016-17 budget, the state did increase its funding for family planning (meaning preventive health counseling and education, health testing, screenings and referrals in addition to contraception.) The funding is well below the annual budget for the Colorado Initiative. And it won’t help women who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid or meaningful subsidies, but don’t earn enough to afford insurance. Choose When works with local providers to cover the gaps and assure that everyone who needs a LARC gets one.
So how successful was The Colorado Initiative?
- 48% decline in birth rate for women ages 15-19
- 58% drop in teens giving birth a second or third time
- Abortion rate fell by 48% in young women ages 15-19
- 43,000 pregnancies in Colorado were unintended in 2010
- Infant enrollment in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) dropped by 26%
Do you have any other interesting statistics?
Yes, we do.
- 50% of pregnancies in the US are unintended
- 75% of teen pregnancies are unintended
- 63.8% of unplanned births in Colorado were publicly funded
- Low-income women are five times more likely to have an unplanned pregnancy
- For every dollar spent helping women avoid pregnancy, taxpayers save $7.09
Does anybody else think that unplanned pregnancy is a major issue for us locally? Yes. The 2012-2016 Community Health Improvement Plan for Routt and Moffat Counties set as its top priority the prevention of unintentional pregnancy through funding for long-acting contraception.
What exactly is Choose When?
Choose When is a project that was developed by a group of Steamboat Springs women who wanted to do something to help women in our community. As we explored the possibilities, we kept hearing about the success of the Colorado Initiative and the dismay in the community that the funding for that project had not been picked up by the legislature. After conferring with Northwest Colorado Health, Planned Parenthood, and local OB/GYNs, and talking to and doing a focus group with local low-income women, the need for this project became painfully obvious.
Because of the enthusiasm and enterprise of our local non-profit healthcare providers, it was not necessary to create Choose When as a stand-alone non-profit organization. Instead, Choose When is a joint project of three existing non-profits: Northwest Colorado Health, Planned Parenthood,and YampaCare For Women. The project is administered by Northwest Colorado Health.
Is Choose When affiliated with any other organizations?
Thought you’d never ask. Focus on Women is a new organization in Routt County that brings our community together to share information about issues affecting women in our area. The vision is that 3-4 times a year women of all backgrounds and ages will meet in an open forum to learn about everything from the needs of women locally to state legislative action that affects women and to the introduce new local projects developed to help women. Focus on Women will act as an incubator for ideas, discussion and action. Choose When is the first project sponsored by Focus on Women.