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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Here's What the State of Virginia Wants to Do With Low-Income Women Who Keep Getting Pregnant

LARC Initiative implants for low income women

The state of Virginia has launched a new program called the LARC Initiative, that will cost the state around $6 million dollars, to make long-term contraceptives more accessible, especially to low-income women. The program will use long-acting reversible contraceptives or LARCs such as IUDs or implants that are inserted under the skin of the upper arm.
The implants can be effective for 5 to 10 years but it would cost thousands of dollars and that is what makes it rather inaccessible for many, mostly for women who are uninsured or under-insured.

"[LARCs] are convenient for women or people who are busy and active or where it’s hard to remember to take a pill or come in and get a shot," Dr. Shanthi Ramesh, the medical director of the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood, said. "We then have to come back to reality and talk about the cost of them."

On that note, the governor of the state of Virginia signed off on the $6 million LARCs initiative in the bi-annual budget. The funding, which comes from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grants, is allocated by the General Assembly.

Those who have an income of 250 percent below the poverty line and don't "otherwise have access to care" or those who are uninsured or whose insurance does not cover LARCs are qualified for the program, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

The program works as a reimbursement fund to qualified health providers for the devices, insertions, and removals.

Meanwhile, some groups are worried that the program will be used to fund Virginia's abortion industry. The Virginia Department of Health emphasized that it will only be used for long-acting reversible contraceptives and it does not include abortion services.

Moreover, the program is still under study phase on the impacts on morbidity, reduction in abortions, and unplanned pregnancies. The governor and other state officials will have to approve it until June 2020.

For more details about the LARC initiative, visit http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/family-planning/larc-initiative/