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Local children’s services council to be picketed by anti-abortion groups

A local anti-abortion group is set to picket a Children’s Services Council meeting on Thursday morning in an effort to stop funds from going to a local Planned Parenthood for comprehensive sex education programs.

The group, St. Lucie Taxpayers against Tax Funding of Planned Parenthood, will protest the possibility of the local Children’s Services Council (CSC) renewing funding to Planned Parenthood after years of contributing to the group.

According to LifeNews.com, the protest is being coordinated by Dr. Michael Hofstee. Hofstee says “the CSC has been funding Planned Parenthood with local tax dollars for many years — including $500,000 last fiscal year”:

“Altogether, Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions in the U.S., has benefited from more than $3 million in local St. Lucie tax dollars,” Hofstee explained. “Every year, a portion of St. Lucie residents’ property taxes go to the CSC. The little-known taxing authority can be located on residents’ property tax bill.”

“Planned Parenthood contends that tax dollars are not used directly to fund abortions,” he continues. “However, tax funded programs include graphic sex education youth programs that do not oppose abortion. Additionally, Planned Parenthood staff members have salaries subsidized by taxpayers while they are free to advocate abortion. The abortion giant already receives more than $300 million nationally in tax dollars.”

The CSC already decided to not automatically renew funding to Planned Parenthood for its teen pregnancy prevention and sex education programs.

According to TCPalm, the CSC 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 CSC decided to send out a “request for proposals to see if there are other organizations interested in running the programs.” The group has targeted Planned Parenthood’s sex education funding for years.

Behind many of the protest efforts has been Pastor Bryan Longworth, an anti-abortion advocate 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.

TC Palm reports:

Pastor Bryan Longworth of Covenant Tabernacle Church in Port St. Lucie, during a protest at the council’s offices Thursday, announced his group, St. Lucie Taxpayers Against Planned Parenthood Funding, filed a complaint with the state’s Attorney General’s Office claiming the council has violated state law by using taxpayer money to provide two programs aimed at adults. He also said the group plans to hold a “massive” picket campaign in front of TD Bank, where Children’s Services Council board member Pat Alley is vice president.

Longworth said other board members have been the target of public protests in the past and will continue to be as long as they agree to fund Planned Parenthood.

St. Lucie Taxpayers Against Planned Parenthood Funding says it is hoping Planned Parenthood will receive zero funding for its sex education programs this year.

Planned Parenthood is one of a few organizations that provides comprehensive sex education in Florida. The state 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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