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Study: Long-acting Contraception Helps Reduce Teen Pregnancy

PHOTO: Young women who use long-acting, reversible contraception (LARC) experience much lower rates of birth, pregnancy, and abortion, according to a new "Contraceptive CHOICE Project" study. Photo credit: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
PHOTO: Young women who use long-acting, reversible contraception (LARC) experience much lower rates of birth, pregnancy, and abortion, according to a new "Contraceptive CHOICE Project" study. Photo credit: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
October 8, 2014

PHOENIX - Young women in Arizona and elsewhere who use long-acting, reversible contraception, also known as "LARC," have rates of pregnancy, birth, and abortion much lower than the national rates for sexually-active teens.

That's the finding of the "Contraceptive CHOICE Project," a study funded by the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. Brenda "Bre" Thomas is CEO at the Arizona Family Health Partnership.

"It confirms that when people have access to a broad range of contraceptives and are able to choose what works for them the best, they choose very effective methods," Thomas says. "'LARC' are very effective methods of reducing unintended pregnancy."

The five-year study involved 1,400 girls, ages 15 to 19, who had chosen to use an Intrauterine Device (IUD), contraceptive implant, or other form of birth control. Thomas says the study participants experienced rates of pregnancy, birth, and abortion that were all less than half the national rates.

Dr. Laura Dalton, medical director at Planned Parenthood Arizona, says the Affordable Care Act is offering many more women the option of an IUD or birth-control implant, which can cost up to $1,000.

"Fortunately, under the Affordable Care Act, many of the health insurance plans are now covering not only reproductive health exam visits, but also the 'LARC' method if the woman chooses to use it in addition to other birth control options," says Dalton.

The study also shows that women who use this type of contraception, according to Dalton, use it much longer than the birth control pill or other forms, which she says is a key factor in effective family planning.

Dalton stresses that the study in no way is meant to discourage the use of condoms, which can better protect individuals from Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ