DENVER (KDVR) – A study recently published in Health Affairs suggests that women living in an area with expanded access to FDA-approved contraception, like Colorado, leads to an increase in women acquiring bachelor’s degrees.
When the 2009 Colorado Family Planning Initiative was put into action, access to FDA-approved contraception for women was expanded statewide through Colorado’s Title X family planning clinics.
“Past research linked the introduction of the oral contraceptive pill in the 1960s to women’s college completion, but it was unclear whether improvements in access to contraception in the contemporary U.S. would yield similar results,” a Health and Behavioral Sciences professor at CU Denver and lead author of the study, Sara Yeatman said.
To try and measure the impact of initiatives like this one, researchers conducted the “Expanded Contraceptive Access Linked To Increase In College Completion Among Women In Colorado” study, which analyzed thousands of women within an 11-year timeframe to see if CFPI-affiliated initiatives implemented in Coloradan high schools had an impact.
The results of this study
Those running this study, which included researchers from CU Boulder, the US Census Bureau and Stockholm University, looked at 11 years of the American Community Survey data as well as 2000 and 2010 census data to produce their results.
“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,” the study published by the Colorado Fertility Project said.
According to the study, women who had access to these high school programs improved their chances of obtaining a bachelor’s degree by a rate of 6-12%, when compared to women who did not have access to these programs.
Policies put into effect by the state or the federal government that either limit or expand access to the “full range of contraceptive methods” can impact a woman’s chances of completing a bachelor program at a center for high education as well as their reproductive health.
“Now we have data that clearly makes the connection. I think for policymakers, the takeaway is that policies restricting or expanding access to the full range of contraceptive methods can and do affect women’s attainment of higher education, which we know impacts their overall quality of life,” Yeatman concluded.
The Colorado Fertility Project, which published this study, is based out of the Colorado Population Center and the Population Program at the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado Boulder.