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Providing Long Acting Contraception for Free Reduces Birth Rates


An antiparallel story to the one yesterday about exclusion of Planned Parenthood in Texas and increased birth rates is the one from last year about Colorado’s program to provide long acting contraceptives to women.  Multiple stories in the media have covered the reduction in birth rate that occurred after the program was instituted; one example is this New York Times article from July 6, 2015.

Teen birth rates have been dropping nationwide for years; there are many explanations but no single accepted story.  This post from Health and Human Services states that there was a nine percent drop in birth rates among girls aged 15-19 from 2013 to 2014.  In Colorado, about one-fifth of women aged 15-44 use long acting contraceptives, while nationwide only seven percent use them.  This is still a dramatic increase from 2002, when the rate was only 1.5 percent.

Closer examination of teen pregnancy rates shows that the rate dropped dramatically from 1990 to 2002, but then remained stable for several years until falling again from 2009 on.  Just since then, the rates have dropped from 40 per thousand in 2008 to 24 per thousand in 2014.  Rates in the 2002-8 period were about 40 per thousand after falling from 60 per thousand in 1990.

For unknown reasons, the teen birth rate has dropped dramatically in the last few years; it is possible that this is related to the dramatic increase in use of long acting contraceptives by teenagers.  Colorado has been particularly successful in encouraging long acting methods by providing them for free to Medicaid-eligible women, and their birth rates have dropped even faster than the nationwide rates.  The New York Times article cites a drop of forty percent in teen birthrates in Colorado from 2009-13.

Unfortunately, the Colorado program was cancelled by the state legislature; fortunately, a private grant is supplying the contraceptives for at least a limited time.

Real experience shows that providing the means to teenage women allows them to choose not to have children, and they make the choice.  Experience also shows that with-holding the means from women forces them to have more children.  Our planet cannot support any more people with a reasonable quality of life, and whatever means necessary to reduce the birthrate is justifiable.  Most justified are the simplest, most reliable, and cheapest methods like IUDs and implants.  Abortion is a method of last resort, and would be unnecessary if adequate preventive measures were in place.

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