Delaware Public Media

Gov. Markell highlights effort to increase access to reproductive healtcare in weekly message

Feb 27, 2016

Gov. Jack Markell (D-Delaware) says reducing the First State's high rate of unplanned pregnancies will improve Delawareans' futures.

In his weekly message, Markell is touting a new public-private partnership with the nonprofit Upstream USA. They've helped the state assemble $10 million to improve contraceptive access and training for healthcare providers in Delaware.

 

"When people become parents accidentally, we know the future for them and their children may be diminished," said Markell. "Mothers and fathers drop out of school and leave the workforce and too often, their children have fewer opportunities. Helping women achieve their own goals and become pregnant only when they want to means access to effective contraception that works for them."

The state is working with healthcare providers to make billing for birth control easier and to make sure they know how to offer and administer any contraceptive a woman might want, within 24 hours.

Markell is pledging to make contraceptives available to the 200,000 women in Delaware he says are of reproductive age by the end of 2017.

 

 

Full text of Gov. Markell's weekly message:

 

Expanding opportunity means ensuring that all Delawareans can maximize control over their own destinies, and over the destinies of their families. To do so, we must address our state’s high-rate of unplanned pregnancies.

 

When people become parents accidentally, we know the future for them and their children may be diminished. Mothers and fathers drop out of school and leave the workforce and too often, their children have fewer opportunities. Helping women achieve their own goals and become pregnant only when they want to means access to effective contraception that works for them.

 

Top medical organizations have made clear that the new generation of IUDs and implants, long known as Long Acting Reversible Contraception, or LARCs, are 20 times more effective than other methods. But Delaware’s health care system is not prepared to make these methods easily accessible to all women. Providers are not trained to place these contraceptives or properly bill for them, and we see misunderstandings about medical eligibility. 

 

In my State of the State address, I announced that Delaware would work to change this. To improve access, we have joined with the national non-profit Upstream USA to form a public-private partnership called Delaware CAN, Contraceptive Access Now. Supported by significant private funding and our Division of Public Health, we have begun training and providing technical assistance to health centers like the Henrietta Johnson Medical Center in Wilmington. With their help, and by the end of 2017, we will ensure that the nearly 200,000 women of reproductive age in the state get access to the full range of methods, and that they can pursue their personal goals while becoming pregnant when they and their partners choose.

 

By increasing access to high-quality reproductive healthcare, we can improve opportunities for women and their children —and that, will keep Delaware moving forward.