By Elizabeth Arzt, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Communications Fellow
43% of all unintended pregnancies are due to incorrect or inconsistent use of contraception. This shocking statistic can be remedied with greater awareness and widespread use of long-acting reversible contraceptives, or LARCs. LARC methods, which include hormonal implants and Intrauterine devices (IUDs), have an unparalleled 99% rate of effectiveness. Despite their reliability, fewer than 10% of women currently use one of these methods. Last week was LARC Awareness week, a nationwide campaign where women shared why their LARC was right for them. Here are some of the benefits women shared about using LARCs:
Once inserted by the doctor, LARC requires no input from the user, completely removing the human error that reduces the efficacy of other forms of contraception. No need to remember to take a pill, or have a diaphragm ready to go. LARC acts as the “set it and forget it” method. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, LARCs were shown to be 20 times as effective at preventing unintended pregnancy than the ring, the patch, or the pill.
Insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act include coverage for the procedure’s cost of insertion and removal. All new insurance plans obtained through the act’s exchanges fully cover all contraceptive methods without any co-payments or other out-of-pocket costs. Furthermore, there is no need to purchase refills or replacements that are required with other methods.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “almost all women are appropriate candidates” for the LARC methods currently available, including adolescents and women who have never had children. Fertility returns right after removal and there are no adverse risks to future pregnancies.
LARCs offer women a safe, convenient, and long-lasting choice for preventing pregnancy. We must dispel myths, educate providers, and continue to spread the word about the advantages of choosing LARCs.