A South Florida Planned Parenthood affiliate lost funds today from St. Lucie’s Children’s Services Council. For years, Planned Parenthood was given funds for teen pregnancy prevention and sex education programs.

According to TCPalm, the Services Council of St. Lucie County “has given $3.3 million to Planned Parenthood” since 2000 for programs that includes “La Promesa, a health program aimed at Latino youths and their parents; Adult Role Models, which trains parents how to discuss issues facing today’s teens, Teen Time Community Education, a sexual health education service; and Teen Time Carrera after school, a teen pregnancy prevention program.”

However, this year the Services Council decided to send out a “request for proposals to see if there are other organizations interested in running the programs.” A group called St. Lucie Taxpayers against Tax Funding of Planned Parenthood had been targeting Planned Parenthood’s sex education funding.

St. Lucie Taxpayers against Tax Funding of Planned Parenthood, a local anti-abortion group, has been led by Pastor Bryan Longworth, who has campaigned for anti-abortion legislation in the state. Longworth has long been the chief proponent of a “Personhood” amendment in Florida, which has failed to gain traction among powerful anti-abortion groups such as Florida Family Policy Council.

An email from the CEO of the South Florida Planned Parenthood affiliate states:

Today Planned Parenthood learned that the Children’s Services Council of St. Lucie County (CSC) will not continue funding our sex education programs. We want to thank CSC for their investment in our teen pregnancy prevention and parent sex education programs for the last ten years. Of course, we are deeply saddened that CSC will not continue funding Planned Parenthood’s life-saving programs and we recognize the tremendous pressure they faced from a coordinated and highly political attack aimed at undermining the preventative health care and education we provide to teens and their parents throughout St. Lucie County.

As you know, Planned Parenthood is uniquely qualified and prepared to continue our lifesaving programs once new funding is secured. Without Planned Parenthood’s prevention focused programs, underserved communities will have less access to essential education and health care. A lack of access to medically accurate sex education will also limit knowledge about the importance of cervical and breast cancer screenings, critical HIV testing and other sexually transmitted infection treatments and pregnancy testing and referrals to prenatal care.

Planned Parenthood — one of the state’s few organizations that provide comprehensive sex education — has been denied public funds to teach sex education in certain areas of Florida. The state has a statute that requires schools to teach abstinence-only sex education. Comprehensive sex education advocates have blamed this limited curriculum for the state’s persistent teen pregnancy problem and rising STD rates among teenagers.

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