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In recent years, there has been a surge in the education and promotion of LARCs, AKA Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives
We are encouraged by the tremendous progress made in the last 40 years in LARCs design, safety, and efficacy. We strongly support the development of, and access to, the full range of safe and effective contraceptive options. And, we advocate for the elimination of financial, regulatory, and social barriers that prevent women from getting LARCs.
Yet, the NWHN is deeply concerned that enthusiasm for LARCs threatens individuals' ability to decide which methods are best for their unique circumstances. Aggressive promotion of LARCs—or of any method—infringes on reproductive autonomy, and can't be separated from the broader context of reproductive coercion.
The NWHN is particularly troubled by reports—confirmed in a number of qualitative studies—that providers and public health officials are promoting the use of LARCs regardless of a person’s independent sexual and reproductive health needs, desires, or family planning priorities.
While we continue to fight rampant, on-going attacks on access to contraception and abortion care, we must also protect and defend reproductive autonomy from coercive programmatic and provider practices. Every person must have complete information about all of their contraceptive options and be able to choose the method that is right for them without any cost or access barriers.
Get Help to Make Good LARC Policy
In partnership with the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH), we developed a toolkit to help activists evaluate and shape LARC policymaking at the state level.
LARC Coercion History & Toolkit Webinar
Watch our May 2019 webinar on the history of LARC coercion and how activists can use the toolkit to effect change in their states.
Statement of Principles
These examples and more are why the NWHN joined with our allies at SisterSong to craft a statement of principles to guide the non-coercive provision of LARCs:
“We believe that people can and do make good decisions about the risks and benefits of drugs and medical devices when they have good information and supportive health care. We strongly support the inclusion of long-acting reversible contraceptive methods (LARCs) as part of a well-balanced mix of options, including barrier methods, oral contraceptives, and other alternatives. We reject efforts to direct women toward any particular method and caution providers and public health officials against making assumptions based on race, ethnicity, age, ability, economic status, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression."
“We believe articulating these principles is necessary to protect the bodily autonomy and to respect the agency, health, and dignity of marginalized women so that those who have historically been oppressed or harmed feel safe when making reproductive decisions. This is a critical step forward. This is what reproductive justice looks like.”
The statement has been endorsed by hundreds of national, state, and local organizations and individuals. This is a living document shared by Sister Song and the National Women's Health Network.