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Rick Scott vetoes women and children health care, leaves crisis pregnancy centers alone

Gov. Rick Scott yesterday vetoed almost $1.5 million for a handful of community health care clinics in Florida that provide adult and pediatric primary health care services, family planning, immunizations and STD and HIV screening, among other services, to low-income and minority patients. #

Scott vetoed $500,000 for the AGAPE Community Health Center in Duval County and another half a million dollars for Apopka Health Center for rural and minority health. #

Apopka is a community health center that provides health care to migrant communities in Florida. AGAPE provides a range of women’s health services. Among the many serves listed, the center’s website mentions Pap smears, clinical breast exams, STD testing and treatment, family planning, birth control, pregnancy testing and maternal/prenatal care. Apopka Health Center also lists obstetrical and gynecological care as services it provides. #

Together, these two line-item vetoes mean a million dollar loss in preventative care for women in Florida. #

The Healthy Start Coalition of Orange County, meanwhile, lost $200,000. Healthy Start’s mission is to “improve maternal and child health in Orange County.” The Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions were created in 1991 by Gov. Lawton Chiles in an effort “to build local coalitions to reduce Florida’s alarmingly high infant mortality rate” at the time. The coalitions were created as a way to help “at- risk mothers receive the care they need for a healthy pregnancy and baby.” #

The Howard Phillip Center for Children and Families also lost $200,000 yesterday. According to its website, “the Howard Phillips Center for Children & Families provides dignity and healing for children, families and individuals who face overwhelming challenges like child abuse, sexual trauma, developmental disabilities, and lack of access to medical care.” #

The Southwest Alachua County Primary and Community Health Care Clinic lost more than $30,000. This clinic also provides “adult and pediatric primary health care, family planning, immunization, STD and HIV screening.” #

Crisis pregnancy centers, however, did not appear in this long list of line-item vetoes. Crisis pregnancy centers are state-funded clinics that dissuade women from having abortions. They have been shown to provide women with medically inaccurate information about abortion. #

Coupled with an almost $1 million dollar cut in state family planning money to local governments, predominately low-income women will see a decrease in preventative health services as well as medical care after a pregnancy. #

A report recently released by the Guttmacher Institute found that it is low-income women, who mostly lack access to preventative and primary medical care, who are most likely to seek an abortion. According to the report, “the ongoing economic recession may have made it harder for poor women to obtain contraceptive services, resulting in more unintended pregnancies.” #

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