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Here’s startling proof that teen pregnancies drop when birth control is free

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If birth control were free, there would be fewer unwanted pregnancies. This is the longstanding hypothesis put forth by women’s health advocates (and correspondingly written into the Affordable Care Act). Over the last six years, a private grant fund from the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s late wife) has given Colorado a unique opportunity to test this hypothesis. The results are astounding.

When teenagers and poor women in the state were offered free, long-acting contraceptives—i.e. intrauterine devices (IUD) and implants—they overwhelmingly accepted, and the rate of teen pregnancies has plunged. Teen births in Colorado dropped by 40 percent between 2009 and 2013 and the number of abortions in the state decreased by 42 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

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The New York Times called the results of the experiment “startling,” in a cover story this week, noting that while teenage births “have been declining nationally, experts say the timing and magnitude of the reductions in Colorado are a strong indication that the state’s program was a major driver.”

The impact of the program has been most noticeable in the poorest parts of the state, where the rates of unplanned teenage pregnancy have historically been highest. As the Times explains,

“In 2009, half of all first births to women in the poorest areas of the state happened before they turned 21. By 2014, half of first births did not occur until the women had turned 24, a difference that advocates say gives young women time to finish their educations and to gain a foothold in an increasingly competitive job market.”

The Times article also notes that the number of women using long-term birth control methods in Colorado is much greater than the use of those methods nationally.

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“About 7 percent of American women ages 15 to 44 used long-acting birth control from 2011 to 2013, the most recent period studied, up from 1.5 percent in 2002. The figures include all women, even those who were pregnant or sterilized. The share of long-acting contraception users among just women using birth control is likely to be higher.”

While the Affordable Care Act mandates “free contraception” for many in the US, not all insurance coverage is panning out equal. Some plans include a required payment for birth control, and others only offer a limited selection of birth control methods free of charge. And, as the Times notes:

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“Only new plans must provide free contraception, so women on plans that predate the law may not qualify. (In 2014, about a quarter of people covered through their employers were on grandfathered plans, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.)

Advocates also worry that teenagers — who can get the devices at clinics confidentially — may be less likely to get the devices through their parents’ insurance. Long-acting devices can cost between $800 and $900.”

Meanwhile, Colorado’s program is beginning to run low on funding, but for now continues to save the state money and time. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment estimates that the birth control initiative has saved the state’s Medicaid program (which covers more than three-quarters of teenage pregnancies and births) $5.85 for every dollar spent.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Why was Jeffrey Epstein buying size 5 women’s panties — while in jail?

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The Miami Herald has another bombshell report on Jeffrey Epstein, who died in a Manhattan jail while waiting to stand trial on federal sex crimes charges.

"A decade ago, during a brief stint in Palm Beach County Jail, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein made an odd purchase at the facility’s store: two pairs of small women’s panties, size 5," the Herald reported Saturday night.

The newspaper noted, "the panties raise questions about why a childless male inmate, accused of sexually abusing girls as young as 14, would be allowed to buy female undergarments so small that they wouldn’t fit an average-sized adult woman."

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White nationalist Republican ridiculed after only 2 people show up for his town hall meeting

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Embattled Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suffered further humiliation on Saturday when only two people showed up for his town hall meeting with Iowa constituents.

King, who was stripped of all committee assignments for his white nationalism, was been an embarrassment for Republicans with his constant racism and misogyny.

A photo of the town hall meeting was posted on Twitter by Reuters photo editor Corinne Perkins.

https://twitter.com/corinne_perkins/status/1162806565109473280

Rep. King was quickly mocked in the comments.

Here's some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/sedespres/status/1162811223186006018

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2020 Election

Democrats could flip the Texas state house in 2020 — and reshape the national map

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Blue Texas? Democrats have long dreamt of winning Texas’s 38 electoral votes in the presidential election. That may still be a long shot, but a recent “Texodus” from Congress has given new talk to a political transformation across the Lone Star State that could have massive ramifications down the ballot and for decades to come.

This article was originally posted at Salon.

Four of the state’s GOP members of Congress have announced their retirements in recent weeks, an unusual torrent of departures signaling that a storm is coming. And evidence shows that it’s not just hitting Texas’s federal delegation. It’s coming to Austin, too.

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