Under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, 30 million America women and girls obtained no-cost birth control. This boon helped reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions. It gave many young women a better chance to pursue education and careers and to support families later. Now that Republicans in Washington are preparing to wipe out the ACA, some progressive-minded states may lock in those female benefits under new state laws. In Oregon, legislators have introduced a bill requiring all medical insurance systems to cover a wide range of women’s services without co-pays or deductibles. Free birth control, free sterilization and free termination of pregnancy are included, along with routine female care and child care. The bill is to be debated in March. In New York state, new regulations order insurers to provide free birth control and free abortions, if they’re deemed medically necessary by a doctor. How many more states will pass such protections as the GOP “war on women” rages in Washington? We especially like a plan, funded by billionaire Warren Buffett, that was tested in Colorado. Low-income teens and high school dropouts were offered free LARCs (long-acting reversible contraceptives) that are uterine devices or slow-release implants under the skin. Immediately, Colorado’s teen birth rate fell 40 percent, and abortions dropped 42 percent. The state saved $5.85 in Medicaid cost for each $1 invested. It was a clear success. But the Republican-controlled state Senate canceled the program. One right-wing senator said it “increased promiscuity.” Another called it “subsidizing sex.”

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell urged that the Colorado experiment be spread nationwide. He said about half of America’s 6 million yearly pregnancies and unplanned. Offering at-risk girls and young women free LARCs could cut the U.S. abortion rate by two-thirds to three-fourths, he wrote.

We think every American woman is entitled to birth control as a human right, if she wants it. We hope more states take this approach, to offset the damage that may be inflicted in Washington.

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