Free birth control now available through Choose When project | SteamboatToday.com

Free birth control now available through Choose When project

About 200 people attended a March event for the Choose When project

Choose When Helps pay for contraceptives

If you want the most effective form of birth control but can’t afford it, Choose When can help. Choose When is a community funded project that is helping women get IUDs and hormonal implants at low or no cost. IUDs and implants are long-acting, reversible and safe. For more information, call Northwest Colorado Health at 970-879-1632 or Planned Parenthood at 970-879-2212.

— Free, long-acting, reversible birth control is now available for low-income Steamboat Springs women, thanks to the efforts of the newly formed Choose When group.

Organizer Kathleen Wasserman said the group is picking up the costs for women to receive long-acting, reversible contraception, including intrauterine devices, or IUDs, and hormonal implants through partnerships with Planned Parenthood and Northwest Colorado Health.

The devices became available from each of the providers April 1.

"This has been such a wonderful, positive experience, and the community has been so receptive," said Wasserman, who is part of a group of women who set out in late 2016 to create Choose When.

The group's first goal was to initiate a local program that would provide expensive, long-acting birth control to low-income women.

The efforts are based on the successful Colorado Family Planning Initiative, a program that ran from 2009 to 2014 and provided long-acting, reversible contraceptives to women free, but ended when private funding was exhausted.

Choose When held an event in March to share the group’s efforts with the community, leading to several additional donations to fund the program, Wasserman said.

"We had such a coming together of the community for this," Wasserman said. "It's been a terrific experience. It says a lot about Steamboat."

After 90 days, Wasserman said Choose When plans to begin offering financial support to women from other areas of Northwest Colorado, including those in Craig, Hayden and Oak Creek.

"It will expand, and we want to make sure people in the rural parts of the counties are serviced," she said.

Wasserman said the project's quick success was thanks to widespread community support and the ability for Choose When to partner with existing nonprofits to provide the service.

"Without their help, we couldn't have gotten off the ground so fast," Wasserman said.

Learn more about Choose When by visiting choosewhen.org or searching "Choose When Steamboat" on Facebook.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow