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Southwest Life Health And the West is History Community Travel

Campaign curbs teen pregnancies

Southwest counties follow state trend
Colorado’s Beforeplay campaign, aimed at reducing unintended pregnancies, is having an effect. Teen pregnancies in the state dropped 34 percent from 2009 to 2012.

A campaign to prevent unintended pregnancies in Colorado that’s nearing its second anniversary is paying off, the director of the effort says.

“Teen pregnancies have plummeted,” Greta Klingler, family planning coordinator at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said in a telephone interview. “We’re also seeing fewer teen second pregnancies.”

Teen pregnancies dropped 34 percent from 2009 to 2012, Klingler said. Second pregnancies fell 45 percent in the same period, she said.

The state health department and the Colorado Initiative to Reduce Unintended Pregnancies sponsor the campaign, which is called Beforeplay.

Kristi Stump, manager of the family planning and immunization clinic at San Juan Basin Health Department, which serves La Plata and Archuleta counties, is seeing similar trends.

The clinic counsels low-income women about family planning and sexual-health services and does pregnancy testing, Stump said. The work is free or low-cost.

The clinic receives federal Title X funding through the state for family planning. The amount depends on the number of clients expected to be seen, which this fiscal year (ending in July 2014), is 1,200.

The federal funding is $129,000, but it covers about 35 percent of the full cost, Stump said. The shortfall is covered by the counties, patient fees and Medicaid reimbursement.

Among unintended pregnancies are the strictly “oops!” type or a pregnancy that is planned but occurs earlier than intended.

“The overarching goal is to reduce pregnancies,” Klingler said. “But we include sexually-transmitted diseases in our effort because they’re part of sexual health and sexual behavior.”

Klingler said more than 50 percent of pregnancies in Colorado are unintended. The number holds for Southwest Colorado as well.

In cases of unintended pregnancy, the number of miscarriages across age groups ranges from 12 to 18 percent; abortion ends 33 to 44 percent of pregnancies; and live births make up 43 to 49 percent.

The campaign, working through sex education, publicity such as billboards and bus boards, cable television, outreach at colleges and partnerships with family planning providers and advocacy organizations, aims at women ages 18-29, Klingler said.

The campaign is funded by a private donor. Its website, www.beforeplay.org, has drawn 400,000 page views in 21 months, Klingler said.

And the number of visitors to the website is increasing. Right now, Klinger said, it is getting 40,000 to 50,000 hits each month.


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