Colorado officials and pro-abortion advocates are ecstatic over new statistics showing that the teen abortion rate has dropped 64 percent in Colorado over eight years, due mostly to a state-run program offering free or low-cost intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants to women. Teen pregnancies are down 54 percent.
As I reported in a Rewire post today, both statistics are in line with previously reported results from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) family planning initiative. From Rewire:
The figures are a continuation and improvement on impressive results, but state officials were particularly excited about an independent study, conducted this year by the University of Colorado, confirming the state’s family planning initiative potentially saved state and federal programs more than $65 million in labor and delivery costs, other health care, food stamps, and other assistance for women and families from 2009 through 2015.
“This is one of the biggest public-health home runs that I’ve seen in my 35-year public-health career,” Dr. John Douglas, director of the Tri-County Health Department, which has six clinics in three Colorado counties, told The Denver Post. “The work that’s happened is really striking.”
Democratic state lawmakers, who protected state funding for the program from GOP attacks, would likely agree, as would at least one Republican, State Sen. Don Coram of Durango.
But most Republican lawmakers, as well as anti-choice activists, greeted the news with dismay, despite the drop in the abortion rate. That’s because they think the birth control used in the program causes fertilized eggs, also called zygotes, to be destroyed.
Former state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt told the Colorado Times Recorder: “There is so much deception by some murderous Colorado government officials who lied to the Denver Post saying “teen abortion rate declined 64 percent in the last eight years.” The truth is, by forcing taxpayers to fund 43,713 abortion-causing IUD intrauterine implants in teenage women, they are not preventing any abortions but instead causing hundreds of thousands more abortions earlier in the pregnancy cycle. Late-term abortions have dropped, simply because early-term abortions have multiplied. Medically speaking these IUD devices do not prevent conception, rather they prevent the implantation of a living child who has already been conceived. They are not contraceptives, because they do not prevent conception, rather they prevent implantation, so logically they should be called contra-implantation devices.
As a State Rep I once introduced an amendment to their IUD funding/child-killing scheme to simply define contraceptive as that which actually prevents conception. In killing my proposed amendment the Democrats admitted I was right, that IUD’s do not prevent conception only implantation, but they killed my amendment because they would rather kill more post-conception embryo children with your tax-payer dollars. They just don’t think an embryo is a child, when God now holds them accountable for each embryo child’s blood. But since I spoke my peace, that blood is no longer on my hands.”
It was once widely believed that some forms of the pill and IUDs worked by causing the destruction of fertilized eggs. And, in fact, the Supreme Court relied on this view in its 5-4 Hobby Lobby decision.
But scientific opinion has significantly changed in recent years, and medical evidence was submitted to the justices showing that long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) does not harm fertilized eggs. But the conservative court rejected this.
Pro-abortion activists were mostly thrilled with the CDPHE news about teen pregnancy and abortion rates, but some concerns were voiced as well.
“Latinas continue to face obstacles to accessing high quality health care,” said Karla Gonzales Garcia, Program and Policy Director for the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) in a statement. “As a result, we have a higher rate of unintended pregnancy. We know that when women can plan their pregnancies the health outcomes are better for them and their families. That is why the continued funding for the effective Colorado program providing low-income women with access to long acting, effective methods of contraception is so important….
We have worked hard to support continued funding, but we need to make sure that we do not advocate for contraception for young people in a way that judges or demonizes young parents. Young parents are not incapable. They are not more likely to hurt their children and poverty does not just happen to them. They are more likely to face huge obstacles to completing their education and getting the support and services they need to care for themselves and their children. They are more likely to struggle to find affordable childcare or to find a position that pays a living wage and provide workplace protections to help them juggle the needs of their job and their family thereby increasing the likelihood that they are stuck in a cycle of poverty. This does not just happen.
We should continue effective programs like the Colorado Family Planning Initiative that help to close gaps in access to healthcare while also working to break down systems of oppression that make it harder for young people when they face unintended pregnancy and challenge rhetoric about young people and young parents.
We need to support people in being able to become parents when they are ready, to ensure access to the reproductive health care that people need, and to support the health of women and families in our state. Continued funding for this program is an important step.”