Expanded Contraceptive Access Linked To Increase In College Completion Among Women In Colorado

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Abstract

Public subsidies for contraception are often justified by assertions regarding their benefits for women’s lives, yet there is limited contemporary evidence supporting these assertions. Beginning in 2009 the Colorado Family Planning Initiative abruptly expanded access to the full range of contraceptive methods through Colorado’s Title X family planning clinics. Using eleven years of American Community Survey data linked to data from two decennial censuses, we assessed whether exposure to the program led to improvements in college completion among women. Exposure to the Colorado Family Planning Initiative at high school ages was associated with a population-level increase of 1.8– 3.5 percentage points in women’s on-time bachelor’s degree attainment, which represents a 6–12 percent increase in women obtaining their degrees compared with earlier cohorts. Federal and state policies restricting or expanding access to the full range of contraceptive methods can affect women’s attainment of higher education in addition to their reproductive health.

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Yeatman, S., Flynn, J. M., Stevenson, A., Genadek, K., Mollborn, S., & Menken, J. (2022). Expanded Contraceptive Access Linked To Increase In College Completion Among Women In Colorado. Health Affairs, 41(12), 1754–1762. https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2022.00066

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