Del. Gov. Announces LARC Initiative

January 25, 2016 — 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).