The CDC published new data today showing that the teen birth rate in the U.S. dropped to a historic low in 2011. The CDC attributes this in part to teens using contraception more regularly and more effectively. This is great news for a number of obvious reasons. But what it makes me really excited about is how the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage provision could help reduce these rates even more in the coming years.
Yes, I recognize how wonky my excitement is, but think about it: these new statistics are from a period of time before the ACA’s contraceptive coverage requirement went into effect. Imagine what might be coming down the road for us as more and more women have access to contraceptive coverage without worrying that they won’t be able to afford the co-pay at the pharmacy. Imagine what might happen as more and more women are able to access the long-acting methods of contraception that would be best for them, like an IUD, but who haven’t been able to up until now because of high up-front costs. Imagine what we could see as more and more women use contraception to space their pregnancies and improve birth outcomes.
All of this is not to say that implementation of the contraceptive coverage requirement will be perfect or has been so far, which is why we’re helping women contact their insurance companies to find out about their coverage and running our hotline 1-866-PILL4US for women who have had trouble accessing this benefit. But for today, the new CDC data is a great report of what happened in 2011 and has me looking forward to seeing how the ACA impacts these statistics in the future.