Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) is the “fast-growing” form of birth control in the United States, according to a new report released this month.
Researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics found of the 62 percent of US women using birth control between 2011 and 2013, 11.6 percent opted for LARCS with 10.3 percent choosing intrauterine devices (IUDs) and 1.3 percent preferring an implant. By contrast, only 6 percent elected to use LARCs between 2006 and 2010. In 2002, the percentage was even smaller with just 2.4 percent of women using LARCs. The birth control pill, however, still remains the most popular, accounting for 26 percent of all women employing contraceptives from 2011 to 2013. Meanwhile, alternate forms of contraception including sterilization and condoms trailed closely behind at 25 percent and 15 percent, respectively.
The benefits of LARC are undeniable. In the United States, nearly half of the 6.6 million pregnancies annually are unintended. With a failure rate of less than 1 percent, LARC methods, like the IUD, are regarded as the most effective forms of reversible birth control available today. In fact, pilot programs providing free LARCs for low-income women and teens, like that in Colorado, has seen measurable success, cutting the teen birth rate in half statewide over just five years.
LARCs have also proven the most affordable. Though the uninsured can pay upwards of $1,000 upfront for IUDs, the device makes up the cost over its 5-to-10-year use life. Fortunately, most employers (with the exception of those religiously-affiliated) are required to cover LARCs under the Affordable Care Act, putting them within reach of working women.
Media Resources: National Partnership for Women and Families 11/10/15