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Colorado Trust puts up $2M to birth control program

HUERFANO — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on Tuesday, Aug. 25, announced in a press release that $2 million in temporary funding for the Colorado Family Planning Initiative had been granted by the Colorado Trust. The program is aimed at reducing teen pregnancy and abortion rates. The $2 million will help keep afloat a program that provides long-acting reversible contraceptives to low-income and uninsured teenagers and women. After seven years, a $27 million donation, put up by a private foundation to boost the program, expired on July 1, 2015. An initiative allowing for the use of taxpayer dollars to continue the program failed in the Republican-led state Senate earlier this year, due to ideological and fiscal objections. Impacts quickly became apparent in long waiting lists and scarcity of services. CDPHE says nearly 50 percent of all pregnancies in Colorado are unintended which can lead to birth defects, low birth weight, and maternal depression. The release noted that “With new funding from Colorado funders and foundations, the initiative will be able to continue training health care providers, educating women on contraceptive choices, and subsidizing as many as 6,000 (intrauterine devices) or implants.” Over the past seven years the program has provided over 36,000 low or no-cost intrauterine devices or implants to low-income women. Between 2009 and 2014, the rates for both teen births and abortions dropped 48 percent. In the first three years an estimated $79 million in Medicaid costs were averted, according to the CDPHE. State health officials hope to push the legislature for funding again next year.