National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

Del. Gov. Announces LARC Initiative; Fla. Lawmakers, Planned Parenthood Affiliates Discuss LARC Pilot

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D) has announced a new initiative that aims to boost women's access to long-acting reversible contraception, the Wilmington News Journal/Delaware Online reports.

Delaware's rate of unintended pregnancy one of the nation's highest, at 57%. According to Markell and state health officials, lack of education as well as gaps in insurance coverage can prevent women from obtaining LARC.

Delaware Program Details

The program, Delaware CAN (contraceptive access now), will give women same-day access to LARC or other contraceptive methods at no- or low-cost.

The program is a collaboration between the state and Upstream USA, a health care not-for-profit. Health professionals from Upstream will provide training to medical providers about how to administer LARC, help provide contraceptives to physicians' offices and inform women about LARC safety and efficacy. According to state officials, the majority of funding for the program will be private, although some funds will come from the state Division of Public Health.

Mark Edwards, founder of Upstream USA, estimates that staff will host about 60 trainings with community health centers, hospital systems, pediatric practices, primary care practices and women's health practices. "Our goal is to really work with the entire health care community in Delaware," Edwards noted, adding, "All women should have access to a full range of methods … the goal is to really not restrict this access and broaden it so a woman's reproductive health becomes the center of their overall care."

Markell said, "I've come to believe that helping women achieve their own goals and become pregnant only when they want to may be one of the most important things we can do in this regard. There are few times when we can create better outcomes, save money, and create opportunity all at once -- and this is one of those rare times" (Rini, Wilmington News Journal/Delaware Online, 1/21).

Fla. Lawmakers Outline LARC Program

In related news, Florida lawmakers and members of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates on Wednesday announced legislation (HB 947, S 1116) that would promote LARC access, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.

Under the measures, the state Department of Health would develop a LARC pilot program in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Palm Beach counties. The pilot would offer family support, marketing, training and technical aid. The legislation also would require the pilot program to produce a report at its conclusion on its performance, with recommendations for improvement.

Comments

State Sen. Arthenia Joyner (D), sponsor of the Senate bill, pointed to the success of a LARC program in Colorado. She noted, "In the first four years of the Colorado program, the teen birth rate declined 40 percent and subsequent births dropped 53 percent." She added, "Overall, the pro-active program netted Colorado taxpayers $42.5 million in health care savings in the year 2010 alone."

Separately, Kimberly Diaz, a lobbyist for FAPPA, criticized recently proposed antiabortion-rights legislation in the state, including a bill (HB 233) that would require clinics to meet the same building standards as ambulatory surgical centers. "For more than 40 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed that under Roe v. Wade, the Constitution protects every woman's right" to make her own medical decisions, she said, adding, "Yet as another Florida legislative session is under way, we have seen more attacks on access to a full range of receptive health care than ever before."

Similarly, state Rep. Lori Berman (D), said, "Over the years, opponents have relentlessly chipped away at women's rights with Florida unfortunately being at the forefront of this movement." She added that the LARC proposals would "safeguard a woman's right to choice and to control her reproductive rights"(Pryor, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 1/20).