Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper announced a plan Wednesday to expand access to long-acting reversible contraception, or LARC, should he be elected president in 2020.
The Democratic candidate's plan calls for subsidizing the cost of LARC for women who want to use the birth control method but cannot afford to do so. Public funds would also be used to start a public information campaign to promote the method and pay for the training health care providers would need to offer LARC.
The Hickenlooper campaign argues that LARC, which requires a one-time doctor's visit and can work for years, is more convenient and effective than low-cost contraceptives like the pill.
Hickenlooper's plan to expand access to contraception is based off a similar initiative he championed in Colorado. The Colorado LARC initiative helped cut the rate of unintended pregnancies by 40 percent among women between the ages of 15 and 19 and also helped Colorado avoid spending an estimated $66.1 to $69.6 million in public assistance costs, according to a 2017 state government report.
The program also reduced Colorado's teen abortion rate by 64 percent, according to a statement from the Hickenlooper campaign.
Hickenlooper says he would pay for the program by expanding Title X funding by $700 million. Title X is a program that helps low-income women pay for medical care and family planning services. The Democratic hopeful's plan would also allow groups like Planned Parenthood to receive Title X funding, which echoes similar calls from candidates like New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.
Abortion and access to reproductive health care became a major 2020 campaign issue after Alabama passed a near-total ban on the procedure earlier this month. Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Ohio have also enacted their own anti-abortion measures.
A number of Democratic presidential hopefuls have called for the codification of abortion access laws at the federal level, which would ensure that the procedure remains legal nationwide regardless of whether the Supreme Court moves to overturn Roe v. Wade. California Sen. Kamala Harris has also called for the Justice Department to review new anti-abortion laws passed at the state level before they are implemented.