Why Republicans Are Against a Wildly Successful Teen-Pregnancy-Prevention Program

Why would Republicans in Colorado's legislature torpedo a program that reduced teen pregnancy by 40 percent and teen abortions by 35 percent? What's not to like?

Here's a summary of the bizarre arguments Republicans used to attack the program, which involved the distribution of long-acting contraception, like intrauterine devices (IUDs), to teenagers. These are actual quotations from real elected officials.

Birth Control = Abortion

Who knows what he was thinking, because IUDs don't cause abortions, but Colorado Republican Senate Majority Leader Kevin Lundberg said that arguments for the birth-control program were based on "poor science" because IUDs work by "stopping a small child from implanting."

Birth Control = More Sex (Bad)

There's no evidence that birth control leads to promiscuity, but that didn't stop Rep. Kathleen Conti from saying during a hearing on the pregnancy-prevention program, "I hear the stories of young girls who are engaged, very prematurely, in sexual activity, and I see firsthand the devastation that happens to them. I'm not accrediting this directly to this [birth-control] program, but I'm saying, while we may be preventing an unwanted pregnancy, at the same time, what are the emotional consequences that could be coming up on the other side?" 

The Government Shouldn't Fund Birth Control at All

The familiar no-government argument was articulated by GOP Sen. Owen Hill, who described the the measure as a bill "we gotta kill," explaining, "You know, there's always a new way to start a new government program. Five million dollars for some new long-term birth control. I think that's a personal decision people need to make. Certainly the government shouldn't be funding that."

The Government Already Funds Contraception 

"Nobody wants less unintended pregnancy more than I do," Sen. Larry Crowder told Nora Kaplan-Bricker, who wrote a fantastic article on the topic for the National Journal, "but am I willing to go in and ask taxpayers to fund this? I think there's adequate funding out there." In fact, as Kaplan-Bricker pointed out, it's difficult if not impossible for many teens to get free IUDs and other long-acting contraception under Obamacare, and the staffing for Colorado's successful program is not funded.

Birth Control = Bad Boyfriends

Rep. Kathleen Conti, a Republican, asked at one hearing, "Are we communicating anything in that message [of providing contraception] that says 'you don't have to worry, you're covered'? Does that allow a lot of young ladies to go out there and look for love in all the wrong places, as the old song goes?"

Takeaway: Republicans in Colorado still don't know how to talk about birth control in a way that makes sense to normal people. It appears that that's because they don't like birth control, and most people do.