Investigation into State-level Changes in Use of Long-acting Reversible Contraception Shows Differences Persist

The growing use of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) in the federal Title X family planning programs suggests more low-income women who want to avoid pregnancy are able to access one of the most effective forms of contraception. However, increases in LARC use by Title X family planning clients aren’t distributed evenly across states, a team from East Tennessee State University found.

“The Title X program has played a key role in the recent reductions in the U.S. rates of unintended pregnancies and abortions,” says Amita Vyas, Editor-in-Chief of Women's Health Issues and Associate Professor of Prevention and Community Health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University.

The Title X program makes it possible for providers to offer reproductive health services on a sliding-fee basis to clients with low incomes, and researchers from the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health, led by Nathan Hale, used 2012-2016 data from the Title X program to examine changes in LARC usage. Their paper “Use of Highly Effective Reversible Contraception in Title X Clinics: Variation by Selected State Characteristics,” is the Editor’s Choice selection in the latest issue of Women’s Health Issues.  WHI is the official journal of the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health based in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Milken Institute SPH.

The research shows that LARC use remains lower in states with the greatest need for publicly funded contraceptive services and supplies.

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