Prevention First Presentation
HEALTH CARE TASK FORCE
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03:09 PM -- Prevention First Presentation
The committee reconvened. Toni Panetta, Political Director, NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, began her presentation regarding reducing unintended pregnancy in Colorado. She distributed a copy of her presentation (Attachment I) and the report "Planning, Protection, Prevention: Reducing Unintended Pregnancy in Colorado" (Attachment J). She stated that nearly four out of every ten babies born in Colorado are the result of unintended pregnancies. She discussed the amount of public funding spent on unintended pregnancies in 2003, stating that $92 million in public funds were spent as a result of unintended pregnancies. She described Prevention First Colorado, which is a coalition-based model to bring together community-based advocacy organizations, policy makers, health care providers, and other parties interested in promoting reproductive health, decreasing unintended pregnancy, and increasing economic self-sufficiency among Colorado women and girls. She described the scope of the research in the prevention first report, including clinic research, teen research, a random telephone survey, focus groups, and individual interviews.
Ms. Panetta described the findings from the research. She stated the data clarified certain issues critical in predicting use or non-use of contraceptives, and provided data to develop a campaign aimed at a population of women identified as significantly at risk to experience unintended pregnancy. She further discussed concepts related to contraceptive decision-making and use. Ms. Panetta responded to questions from Senator Foster regarding barriers related to cost. She responded to questions from Representative McCann regarding religious beliefs as a factor in use of birth control, and from Senator Schwartz regarding men's attitudes on contraceptive use.
Ms. Panetta continued her discussion of the study's results including demographic predictors related to contraceptive decision-making and use. She identified the groups more likely to report having sex without contraceptives when not desiring pregnancy and groups more likely to report having experienced an unintended pregnancy. In conclusion, the groups most at risk for unintended pregnancy include women enrolled in Medicaid and women with low educational attainment who live in rural and small-town communities.
She discussed the development of a social marketing campaign based on the study's findings. The Prevention First Colorado program has two components: 1) placement of a health educator within a pilot clinic to provide in-depth counseling about contraceptives; and 2) a community-based campaign that includes bill boards, flyers, and a word-of-mouth campaign. The campaign aims to address the following barriers to contraceptive use identified in the study: intolerance of side effects/lack of education about side effects of birth control; lack of trusted health care support for birth control; myths about the side effects and effectiveness of birth control; denial of pregnancy risk; and forgetting to take birth control. She discussed the study's public policy recommendations including: declaring the reduction of unintended pregnancy a public health priority in Colorado; revising state statute regarding mandated, comprehensive family planning care; streamlining access to and use of family planning services provided through Medicaid; ensuring all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs, devices, and related outpatient services are covered by all insurance products offered in Colorado; and evaluating barriers to condom access in pharmacies and grocery stores throughout Colorado.
Additional recommendations include providing family planning services through mobile health clinics that serve rural communities; allowing advanced practice nurses with prescriptive authority to distribute and administer prescription contraceptives; expanding access to programs that have been proven to help pregnant and parent teens finish high school; aggressively implementing Colorado House Bill 07-1292, which concerns sex education in schools; providing preventive reproductive health care services and dispensing contraceptives on-site through school-based health care centers; and developing social marketing and public education campaigns to increase contraceptive use and knowledge of the impacts of unintended pregnancy. Ms. Panetta responded to questions from Representative Kerr regarding the study's methodology and data on Medicaid coverage.