Colorado Figured Out How to Dramatically Lower the Teen Birthrate

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Photo: GARO/PHANIE/Corbis

The teen birthrate in Colorado has plummeted 40 percent over the last few years, according to the New York Times, owing in large part to an experimental program that offers free intrauterine devices to teenagers and poor women. It's almost like making affordable birth control easily available has a dramatic impact on teen pregnancy.

The six-year program, made possible by a private grant, also led to a drop in the unplanned pregnancy rate of women under 25. Since the program launched in 2009, the teen abortion rate also declined by 42 percent.

Unfortunately, birth-control advocates in Colorado worry that once the funding runs out and free IUDs are no longer available from confidential clinics, teens won't be as willing to opt for them — especially if they have to pay using their parents' insurance. The devices can cost up to $900, a price that's not exactly easy to pay with after-school restaurant shifts.