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Assessing life course impacts of expanded access to LARCs in Colorado

Amanda Stevenson, University of Colorado Boulder

Project abstract

Does access to high-quality family planning positively affect the life course of women and their families? We plan to address this question—one which is crucial to policy arguments worldwide, but which has rarely been studied with adequate data on the life course outcomes of the women family planning programs are intended to serve.

We propose a project to assess the medium-term multi-dimensional life course consequences of improved access to contraception, focusing initially on exposure to the Colorado Family Planning Initiative (CFPI) during adolescence and the transition to adulthood (ages 15-24). Beginning in November 2009, CFPI provided provider training and free long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) devices to all Title X clinics in Colorado (but not surrounding states), presenting a unique opportunity to assess the impacts of expanded access to these highly-effective methods.

In partnership with the US Census Bureau, we propose to pilot a new procedure to generate individual-level longitudinal data on population-representative samples using already-collected administrative and survey data. The database we develop will provide a unique opportunity to assess how and to what extent women’s life courses were affected by expanded access to LARC during a critical period of life.

The data and methods we develop may be employed in the future to evaluate other state reproductive health policies. Evidence regarding how access to LARC shapes the lives of women and their families will help inform policymakers and advocates as family planning programs continue to be debated and politicized at the state and federal levels.

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