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Over the past several years, teen pregnancies and abortions in Colorado have been on a sharp decline.

The New York Times highlighted the state's success story, in which the teen pregnancy rate dropped by 40% and abortion rate among teens dropped by an astounding 42%.



Data from Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.

Why the sudden drop? It's simple, really: The state made long-acting birth control free to those who wanted it.

Since 2008, Colorado has enabled more than 30,000 individuals to obtain long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), typically intrauterine devices (IUDs) thanks to a state program called the Colorado Family Planning Initiative.

Photo by Jay Directo/AFP/Getty Images.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, IUDs are one of the most effective forms of reversible birth control, with a failure rate less than 1%.

It should come as no surprise that when you make extremely effective contraceptives available to women who don't currently want to have children, unplanned pregnancies and abortions decline.

Sounds like a win-win scenario for just about everyone in the political spectrum, right?

Whatever your opinion on abortion rights, I think most people would agree they'd rather not need one. By their very nature, unplanned pregnancies are, well, unplanned. In reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, this program was able to chip away at the number of women needing access to abortion services.

Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.

But what about the cost of providing free birth control? There's some good news on that front, as well.

Fewer unplanned pregnancies also means fewer parents who aren't financially able to care for a child; as a result, the state and federal government actually save money as the number of people in need of aid programs declines. A Guttmacher study determined that for every dollar spent on family planning programs, the government saves $7.09 on other programs. Which means Colorado's program pays for itself and then some.

The state estimates that just between 2010 and 2012, anywhere between 4,300 and 9,700 unintended pregnancies were avoided, saving the state somewhere between $49 million and $111 million in Medicaid funds.

Making birth control accessible is just one way to reduce unintended pregnancies.

Colorado's program was effective, but it's not the only way proven to reduce unwanted pregnancies. One method that's been shown to reduce teen pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases is simply being armed with the knowledge that comes along with comprehensive sex education.

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

Studies show that abstinence-only education is not an effective way to reduce teen pregnancy.

As of July 2015, just 18 states and the District of Columbia require that sex education courses provide information about contraception. 37 states require that these courses cover abstinence (with 25 of those states mandating that courses stress the importance of abstinence).

Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images.

Abstinence-only-until-marriage programs haven't been shown to drastically affect the age at which students become sexually active. In fact, studies show that students who only received abstinence sex education were more likely to not use contraceptives and were more likely to end up with unintended pregnancies and STDs.

Photo by Jeff Fusco/Getty Images.

All things considered, preventing unintended pregnancies is simple.

It's as easy as arming people with knowledge (comprehensive sex ed) and resources (contraceptives) to stave off unintended pregnancies. As we've seen, denying these resources to teens and adults proves to have a much more painful, expensive social and financial cost. Reducing those pregnancies will take a mix of both knowledge and resources.

As Colorado waits to find out the fate of its wildly successful program, it's helpful to look back on how simple the solution can be and why it's worth investing money and effort toward an effective public good. We should all be able to get behind that idea.

Education

Teacher of the year explains why he's leaving district in unforgettable 3-minute speech

"I'm leaving in hopes that I can regain the ability to do the job that I love."

Lee Allen

For all of our disagreements in modern American life, there are at least a few things most of us can agree on. One of those is the need for reform in public education. We don't all agree on the solutions but many of the challenges are undeniable: retaining great teachers, reducing classroom size and updating the focus of student curriculums to reflect the ever-changing needs of a globalized workforce.

And while parents, politicians and activists debate those remedies, one voice is all-too-often ignored: that of teachers themselves.

This is why a short video testimony from a teacher in the Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County went viral recently. After all, it's hard to deny the points made by someone who was just named teacher of the year and used the occasion to announce why he will be leaving the very school district that just honored him with that distinction.

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Joy

Tea time: how this boutique blends cultures from around the world

Ethically sourced, modern clothes for kids that embrace adventure, inspire connections and global thinking.

The Tea Collection combines philanthropic efforts with a deep rooted sense of multiculturalism into each of their designs so that kids can grow up with global sensibilities. They make clothes built to last with practicality and adventure in mind. But why "Tea"?

Let's spill it. Tea is a drink shared around the world with people from all different cultures. It is a common thread that weaves the world together. The Tea Collection was born from a love of travel and a love of sharing tea with different people in different places. Inspired by patterns from around the world, these clothes help children develop a familiarity with global communities.

Tea sources their materials ethically and ensures that each of their partners abide to strict codes of conduct. They have a zero-tolerance policy for anything "even slightly questionable" and make sure that they regularly visit their manufacturing partners to ensure that they're supporting positive working conditions.

Since 2003, The Tea Collection has partnered with the Global Fund for Children and has invested in different grassroots organizations that create community empowered programs to uplift kids in need. They donate 10% of their proceeds and have already contributed over $500,000 to different organizations such as: The Homeless Prenatal Program (San Francisco, CA, USA), Door of Faith Orphanage (Baja California, Mexico), Little Sisters Fund (Nepal) and others in Peru, Sri Lanka, India, Italy and Haiti.

But the best part about the Tea Collection? They're also an official member of the Kidizen Rewear Collective, which believes that clothes should stretch far beyond one child's use. They have their own external site for their preloved clothes that makes rewearing affordable. Families can trade in gently used Tea clothes and receive discounts for future products. Shopping the site helps keep clothes out of land fills and reduces the environmental impact of the fashion industry.

By creating heirloom style clothing made to last families can buy, sell, and trade clothes that can be reworn again and again. Because "new to you" doesn't always have to mean never been worn. And let's be honest, we all know how fast kids grow! Shopping preloved clothes is a great way to keep styles fresh without harming the environment or feeling guilty about not getting the most out of certain styles.

But don't just take our word for it! Head over to the Tea Collection and see for yourself!

Upworthy has earned revenue through a partnership and/or may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through links on our site.

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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