Delaware Public Media

Report finds long-acting birth control is helping reduce unplanned pregnancies in Delaware

Mar 23, 2018

A new report says more access to long-acting reversible contraception may be helping low-income women in Delaware prevent unplanned pregnancies.

The report by the Child Trends research center finds that unplanned pregnancies in Delaware may have dropped 15 percent. A 2014 partnership between the nonprofit organization Upstream USA and the Delaware Division of Public Health expanded birth control access for low-income women.

Upstream Co-founder Mark Edwards said more women are choosing long-acting birth control. Those devices - inserted in the uterus or implanted in the arm - can last for several years. And Edward said they can be 20 times more effective than the pill or condoms.

“The new IUDs and implants are considered best in-class contraceptive care for all women, including all adolescents," he said. "The Centers for Disease and Control, the American College of OBGYNs, the American Academy of Pediatrics all have endorsed long-acting reversible contraceptive methods.”

Edwards also said women in Delaware can get long-acting birth control methods on the same day instead of needing multiple doctor’s appointments.

“Essentially women are given a false choice," he said. "They’re told ‘You can get the pill right now, here’s a prescription or it will take you three or four visits to get one of these more effective methods.’ And many women don’t have time to make three or four visits to the doctor to get contraception.”

Edwards said birth control is available for free or low cost depending on income.

The report focused on publicly-funded family planning services between 2014, when the initiative started, and 2016. Delaware had one of the worst rates of unplanned pregnancies just a few years ago. In 2010, more than half of all of pregnancies in the state were unintended.