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Long-acting reversible contraceptive access advances, despite birth control choice concerns

The Indiana Statehouse on a cloudy day.
Brandon Smith
/
IPB News
HB 1426 requires hospitals to ensure Medicaid members have the option to get a long-acting reversible contraceptive during their delivery visit. A House committee amended the bill to specifically require subdermal LARCs.

A Senate committee approved a bill Thursday that would increase access to postpartum, long-acting reversible contraceptives, also known as LARCs, for people on Medicaid.

Discussion on the bill brought up concerns around the type of LARC it requires hospitals stock. And lawmakers passed an amendment to put an expiration date on the coverage.

HB 1426 requires hospitals to ensure Medicaid members have the option to get a LARC during their delivery visit. A House committee amended the bill to specifically require subdermal LARCs.

Sen. Shelli Yoder (D-Bloomington) introduced an amendment in the Senate Appropriations Committee to revert language in the bill to a previous version that didn’t specify the type of LARC required.

“I appreciated so much the inclusion of the IUD and how important it is to give birthers an option,” Yoder said.

A similar amendment was filed in the Senate Health and Provider Services Committee.

Providers and lawmakers raised concerns that hospitals might only provide what is legally required, which they warn could lead to issues accessing other types of LARCs, such as an IUD.

Rep. Rita Fleming (D-Jeffersonville), author of the bill, said it does not prevent hospitals from stocking other options. The committee voted against Yoder’s amendment.

READ MORE: Medicaid members could have more access to postpartum long-acting reversible contraceptives

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The committee amended the bill to put an expiration date on those requirements, meaning lawmakers would have to work on legislation next year to extend it. Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Ryan Mishler (R-Mishawaka), who introduced the amendment, cited fiscal concerns.

Yoder said the fiscal impacts of the bill aren’t as big as other legislation that’s already been approved this session.

“Sunsetting it in a year has me greatly concerned because we have continued to play with birth control, access to reproductive choice and freedom and justice in this state,” Yoder said.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misspelled Rep. Rita Fleming's last name.

Abigail is our health reporter. Contact them at aruhman@wboi.org.

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Abigail Ruhman covers statewide health issues. Previously, they were a reporter for KBIA, the public radio station in Columbia, Missouri. Ruhman graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.