Lawrence health department offering long-term birth control options

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Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health is offering long-term birth control, including an arm implant and two types of IUDs, with flexible payment options. 

Long-acting reversible contraceptives, or LARCs, don’t require any upkeep and can last up to several years. They can also be removed by a health care worker at any time if a patient wants to become pregnant.

LARCs are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, unobtrusive, safe and reversible, according to the health department; however, none of them prevent transmission of HIV or STDs.

These are the LARCs now available to adults and teens at the health department, and how long they can last, according to their manufacturers:
• Nexplanon, an arm implant that can be effective for up to three years;
• Liletta, a hormonal IUD that can be effective for up to six years;
• and Paragard, a nonhormonal IUD that can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years.

“Individuals will want to talk with a public health nurse and learn about the different LARCs to choose the option that is best for them,” Daniel Smith, a spokesperson for the health department, said via email.

The nonprofit organization Bedsider also has information about each of them on its website for those who want to read up on their options.

Smith said the procedure to install or remove a LARC is minor, “and in many cases, we can consult with an individual, assess their needs, and insert the LARC on the same day.”

Insurance is not required for patients seeking LARCs from the health department.

“If people are interested in getting a LARC they should not let price concerns prevent them from coming in to get an assessment,” Smith said. “If payment is a hurdle, we will work with individuals to find something that fits their income level.”

A majority of patients — 86% — who get a LARC report still using it a year later, Smith said.

Those who are interested in getting a LARC can contact the health department at 785-856-0721 or to schedule a discreet appointment at the clinic, 200 Maine St., Suite B.

“If anybody is worried that they aren’t eligible for a LARC, for any reason, they should reach out and arrange an assessment,” Smith said.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, which eliminated the right to abortion at the federal level, birth control could be among private matters to come under political attack next. Three other landmark cases — involving contraceptives, same-sex marriage, and the right of consenting adults to engage in sex without government interference — rely on the same legal precedents as Roe.

In Kansas, voters will decide on Aug. 2 whether to amend the state constitution to eliminate the legal protection of abortion. The amendment on the ballot, if passed, would clear the way for Kansas politicians to ban abortion. All voters, including those who are unaffiliated, are eligible to vote in the election.

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Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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