A Republican Colorado lawmaker is opposing efforts to continue an anti-poverty program that provides IUDs to poor women because he believes the birth control method to be an "abortifacient" that would stop "a small child from implanting."
The Coloradoan reported that Democratic state Rep. KC Becker was sponsoring a bill in hope of finding funds to make sure that low-income women continue to be able to receive long-acting reversible contraception, like IUDs.
The Family Planning Initiative pilot program had been funded by a $25 million grant from an anonymous donor. It worked so well that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) estimated that the teen birth rate was down by 40 percent, resulting in $23 million in savings in Medicaid assistance to women and children.
CDPHE projected that the program, which would use $5 million from the state’s general fund, could save the state $40 million in Medicaid costs in the future.
But state Senate Health and Human Services Committee chair Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R) opposed funding the Family Planning Initiative on the grounds that IUDs induce abortions, even though doctors have said that the claim is inaccurate.
“Protecting life is a very big issue,” Lundberg explained, according to The Coloradoan. “In my mind, that’s what government is all about, and to protect the life of the most vulnerable and most innocent seems to be the most important.”
Lundberg asserted that the notion that IUDs don't cause abortions was "poor science." He argued that the birth control method included the possibility of “stopping a small child from implanting," meaning that the IUD prevents the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.
CDPHE Executive Director Dr. Larry Wolk told The Coloradoan that it would be disappointing if the beneficial program was blocked due to politics.
“When you’re talking about birth control and long-acting reversible contraceptives being birth control, it has the potential to be political rather than clinical,” Wolk explained. “I hope that’s not the case, and I think we have some good bipartisan support.”
“The bottom line is we’ve seen a 40 percent decrease in our unintended pregnancy rate amongst these young women in the state; we’ve seen a drop in the rate of abortions; we’ve seen a decrease in the number of women and kids signing up for supplemental government program,” Wolk said. “Really, it’s good news across the board.”
But Lundberg suggested that supporters of the program had a more sinister agenda.
“I don’t buy the argument that they’re trying to prevent teenage pregnancy when they’re pushing this,” Lundberg observed.