Lawmakers wrestle over birth-control funding 

"We are talking about the most critical issue of protecting life or abortion," said Sen. Kevin Lundberg, a Republican from Berthoud who will chair the Health and Human Services Committee. Lundberg said he doesn't oppose the use of condoms or pills. But he said IUDs are "abortifacients," meaning they cause abortions

DENVER | Colorado Democrats who credit a drop in teen pregnancy to expanding access to long-acting birth control such as intrauterine devices have to convince Republicans next year to use state funds for the contraceptives.

This summer, Gov. John Hickenlooper and his chief medical officer praised a five-year pilot program — supported with a $25 million private donation — that they said helped decrease Colorado’s teen birth rate by 40 percent from 2009 through 2013. Abortions also decreased, officials said.

A nursery worker at APS Early Beginnings program gets the school nursery ready for the day. The program for teen mothers works to help young moms get their diploma and avoid the known pitfalls of teen parents. A state program that allows for free birth control could be in jeopardy because of Republican opposition. The program is credited with reducing teen pregnancy and the need for programs like the one in APS.
A nursery worker at APS Early Beginnings program gets the school nursery ready for the day. The program for teen mothers works to help young moms get their diploma and avoid the known pitfalls of teen parents. A state program that allows for free birth control could be in jeopardy because of Republican opposition. The program is credited with reducing teen pregnancy and the need for programs like the one in APS.

The Colorado Family Planning Initiative has provided low-income women access to birth control like IUDs and hormone implants for free or low cost at 68 clinics in the state. But state officials say $5 million is needed to continue the program.

With Republicans controlling the Senate next session for the first time in 10 years, it could be a battle. Democrats control the House.

“We are talking about the most critical issue of protecting life or abortion,” said Sen. Kevin Lundberg, a Republican from Berthoud who will chair the Health and Human Services Committee. Lundberg said he doesn’t oppose the use of condoms or pills. But he said IUDs are “abortifacients,” meaning they cause abortions.

“I have no moral problem with contraceptives. The problem is when you kill the child,” he said.

“That is not medically correct,” countered Dr. Larry Wolk, the state’s chief medical officer and the director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which oversees the family planning program. He said IUDs work as a pre-fertilization barrier.

Wolk also noted that abortions decreased in the counties with clinics participating in the family planning program. In 2008, there were 1,700 abortions, and in 2012 there were 1,055, he said. The 37 of Colorado’s 64 counties that participated in the program have 95 percent of the state’s population, Wolk said.

Supporters of the family planning initiative say teen mothers are less likely to finish high school, and they’re more likely to be in need of public assistance.

“It’s not a political issue. It really is an issue of health and what’s in the best interest for these women,” Wolk said.

The $5 million request was included in Hickenlooper’s proposed budget, which he unveiled early this month. However, Republican Sen. Kent Lambert, who chairs the budget-writing Joint Budget Committee, said the funding request will require a stand-alone bill because of a state law that forbids state dollars from backfilling programs launched with private money.

House Democrats have a good chance of passing a funding bill. The Senate is another matter.

“It raises the question of, if you were successful getting a grant, why can’t you can’t you get grant again?” Lambert said.

Wolk said the private donor gave money to test whether there was a public benefit with such a program.

“Sure we can go back to them, but they feel like they’ve given,” he said.

The governor’s budget letter estimates that if approximately 5,500 get access to long-term birth control, the state can save about $40 million in Medicaid for prenatal, labor, and delivery costs.

“I think it’s fiscally irresponsible not to allow this for our population,” said Sen. Irene Aguilar, a Democrat on the Health and Human Services Committee.

  • Frank2525

    And the internet definition explain that IUD harden the surface of womb so the FERTILIZED EGG will not adhere. For all those who believe life begins at fertilization, that is an abortion. And that argument does on within the medical profession, and medical books also. Now if you want to cut abortions, and reduce expenses, I would bet that if all baby boys were given a vasectomy at birth, or little girls had their tubes tied, you could cut the expenses very low. Just how much do politicians want to get into our bedrooms, and our wallets. My wife (79) and me (85) doubt we need birth control, and since wife had hysterectomy at age 77 for cancer of uterus, we resent paying in healthcare for such, or for the condoms or birth control. If young folks can afford to buy tobacco, pot, and other items of choice, they should be able to pay for own needs, including birth control, condoms, Viagra just to name a few.

    • ezaspie

      I like how you would rather see upwards of 500+ abortions of children upwards of 26 weeks rather than pitch in and make IUD’s affordable. A 26 week old baby is even viable in some cases due to modern medicine. I think it’s sad that you can only think of you and your own needs. This is something that helps everyone by making a long term, highly effective birth control available to young low income women. Unwanted pregnancies result in abortions and if they are brought into a home that does not love them or wanted them, it also usually results in crime. What a sad world we live in, cut off your nose to spite your face.

      • Frank2525

        You don’t recognize sarcasm? Your system of encouraging self gratification by paying for their abortions, birth control, is not working, or had you not noticed. 1.6 million homeless children in USA go to bed at night, without a home or bed of their own to sleep in with your system. Growing up in the 30s, 40s,50,s we had name for the women who slept around, as well as the tom-catting guys. But in those days, most women had brothers or fathers, who took exception to them having children, and the guy not marrying them or providing for them or the child. But that is okay with you, I take it. —————- I do remember one guy in Ohio, got girl pregnant, and then accused her of sleeping around. Got four of his friends to go to court with him, and claim they had been with her. Our neighborhood knew she was not that type, and Judge recognized it too. But since they perjured themselves, and signed statement, He assured them he was establishing child support for baby until age 18, and 23 if it went to college, and all 5 guys would split the payment, payable through the county court. ———–Somehow, I did not hear of that happening with others. However, in our County, most of folks I knew attended church, was religious, and HAD MORALS. Put me down as old Fuddy Duddy, if you must, but I believe in child knowing who father and mother are, and having family memories. So go pick on someone who gives a crap what you think. If times were different, I would give you my address, and you could send me a postage paid envelope, and I would send you a quarter to call someone who cares. But not with ID thieves now, and also with folks buying drones and small bombs.

        • ezaspie

          Sorry you were such a rascal in your youth, I am glad you were made to pay child support. It’s not ok with me when a guy like yourself throws a woman’s name in the mud to avoid child support or a guy who walks out. That’s why I support providing birth control to women who struggle financially. Just to clarify are you smart enough to understand without continuing this program or programs like these 500+ children up to 26 weeks will be aborted? By not supporting programs like this you support aborting children that might be viable. Just small minded.

          • Frank2525

            Get lost with your childish taunts, or better yet go downtown and challenge the drunks coming out of the bars.

          • ezaspie

            I thought I was challenging the drunks. Get lost with your raised myself up by my boot strap attitude.

  • Frank2525

    One other comment: If any of the items I listed are required for medical reasons, than have the doctors certify that, and medical healthcare would cover that cost, same as with teeth, hearing, etc. But medical needs must be certified in my Medicare or Tricare for Life. Otherwise I pay for my own dentists and eyecare.

  • Dale Nichols

    Either the Sentinel misquoted Lambert twice, or he’s incapable of uttering a coherent sentence. Or both.

    • Frank2525

      Attending many committee meetings through the years at the Capitol and press releases, May I suggest you campaign for office, and experience how media reporters will quote you? I fully understand the thought behind that sentence. Abortions should be few, but available when needed by the woman, in line with her situation. Should be properly performed, in proper medical standards. But Birth Control is another issue, and should be available easily, and economically. But should also be paid for by those involved, and not by society at large. I hope you will see what I am driving at, and don’t feel I am misquoted. That sentence contained two, unequal, but important issues. And should not be political issue, but entirely personal, private, and within the family or personal situation. Have a good day, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

  • Fed up

    I suppose old fuddy duudy does approve of paying into a pool for auto, life or health coverage either