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In proposed VA budget, millions go to contraception

First slide

The Virginia General Assembly is currently haggling over a two-year state budget that could allot $6 million to 12 million to a pilot program providing long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) to women. 

“We believe the LARC pilot program is wrongheaded, bad policy and lamentable,” said Jeff Caruso, executive director of the Virginia Catholic Conference, the advocacy arm of Virginia bishops. Caruso was joined by other organizations, including The Family Foundation and the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia, to oppose the measure at a press conference in Richmond May 9.

“Today, we urge the General Assembly to remove the funding for this regrettable new program, which preys on poor women and teenagers,” said Caruso.

The LARC program had been a part of former governor Terry McAuliffe’s proposed budget for years, but only recently gained traction in the legislature, said Bill Re, associate director. Healthcare providers, including Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, will be reimbursed for implanting and removing the devices. Money also will go toward advertising the availability of LARCs, such as intrauterine device (IUDs.) 

Though some taxpayer money already goes toward providing free or low-cost contraception, this initiative would be a big expansion, said Re. “At the very least, it should not be distributed through the abortion industry,” he said.

“Last year, Planned Parenthood received $544 million from taxpayers and made a profit of $98.5 million,” said Caruso. “Meanwhile, it spends millions of dollars each election cycle to push its agenda on policymakers and the public. The bloated abortion industry does not need any more of Virginia taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars.”

The VCC also is concerned teenagers will receive LARCs without their parent’s knowledge, as minors legally may consent to contraceptive services in Virginia. “Pushing LARCs onto teenage girls without their parents’ knowledge or involvement is bad for both teens and families,” said Caruso. 

“Women deserve better; taxpayers demand better; and Virginia is better than this,” he said. 

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© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018