In Virginia, almost 40-percent of women say their most recent pregnancy was unplanned. A new pilot program funded in the latest state budget, is hoping to lower that number.
IUD’s, or intrauterine devices, are one of the most effective forms of reversible birth control. But for someone who doesn’t have insurance, they’re also one of the most expensive.
Without discounts they can run up to $1,000 each, says Emily Yeatts with Virginia’s Department of Health, an amount that she says is a barrier for a lot of low-income people.
“They may have to choose a method that is more affordable for them upfront,” Yeatts says. “Like pills or condoms, which we know are less effective at preventing unintended pregnancy.”
The most recent state budget allots $6 million to help reduce that barrier. Doctors and clinics can apply for the funds. And for low-income patients, the service will be free.
Yeatts points to similar initiatives in Colorado and St.Louis.
“Both of those projects saw a tremendous decline in unintended pregnancies, and abortions, and teen pregnancies, and maternal and child health outcomes,” she says.
In Colorado for instance, the teen abortion rate was cut nearly in half. But, Yeatts adds, that was a much larger investment over five years.
Virginia’s pilot program is funded for two years. Governor Ralph Northam began pushing for it years ago, when he served as Lieutenant Governor.