WAVY TV 10: “New Virginia program helps low-income women gain access to long-acting birth control”

As you read the following news story, keep these things in mind:

  • Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs) kill preborn children in the earliest stages of life.
  • A study in 2016 stated that women on IUDs and LARCs are more likely to have a repeat abortion within two years (source).
  • In Virginia LARCs are covered under Medicaid as of January 2017 (Medicaid Memo source).
  • In 2018 the Virginia General Assembly expanded Medicaid which, thanks to 20 Republican votes, also expands access to LARCs and early-term abortions (see our previous post here) on top of the $6 MILLION allotted for LARCs via TANF block grants within the 2019-2020 Virginia state budget (as stated in article below).

Abortion Must Be Abolish! #AbolishAbortionVA

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New Virginia program helps low-income women gain access to long-acting birth control

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RICHMOND, Va. (Nexstar) — Virginia launched a multi-million dollar pilot program this week to increase access to long-term contraceptives for low-income women.

The program is for long-acting reversible contraceptives or LARCs, such as IUDs or implants that go in the arm. These can last for 5 to 10 years but can cost thousands of dollars.

“There’s been this barrier of cost,” Dr. Shanthi Ramesh, the medical director of the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood, said. “For women who are uninsured or under-insured, the idea of paying that out of pocket is just not feasible.”

Dr. Ramesh sits down with patients every day to talk about birth control options.

“[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,” she said. “We then have to come back to reality and talk about the cost of them.”

But an effort from the state could help low-income women gain access to these options.

The Governor signed off on the $6 million LARCs initiative in the bi-annual budget. The funding comes from federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grants, which Virginia Health Department officials say is allocated by the General Assembly.

In order to qualify, a patient’s income has to be 250 percent below the federal poverty line and not “otherwise have access to care,” according to the Virginia Department of Health. For example, patients who are uninsured or whose insurance does not cover LARCs.

The funding reimburses qualified health providers for the devices, insertions and removals.

“If you’re ready to be pregnant, if your device is expired or you’re having side effects that you’re worried about, you can in and get the device removed for free,” Dr. Ramesh said.

Before the budget was finalized, a number of groups came forward with concerns about the program. They said reimbursing providers, like Planned Parenthood, would end up funding Virginia’s abortion industry.

The pilot program is only for long-acting reversible contraceptives, it does not include abortion services.

The Virginia Department of Health will be studying the initiative’s impacts on morbidity, reduction in abortions and unplanned pregnancies. The report will be given to the Governor and other state officials in June of 2020.

Twelve different providers across the Commonwealth are participating, including Augusta Healthcare for Women, Central Virginia Health Services, Daily Planet, Greater Prince William Community Health Center, Harrisonburg Community Health Center, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, Rockbridge Area Health Center, Sinclair Health Clinic, UVA Health System, VCU Health System, Virginia League for Planned Parenthood, and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance.

Click here to read more about the LARCs initiative, by searching F.1

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