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Florida health department suggests cuts to crisis pregnancy funding

Florida’s Department of Health suggested cutting state funding to crisis pregnancy centers, among other services, to state legislators during a committee meeting last week. The department presented a report on what it sees as possible areas of budget reduction to legislators in the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee, as they prepare to make more cuts to the budget during their upcoming session.

Crisis pregnancy centers (known as CPCs) are often religious centers created to persuade women to not have abortions. Florida is among a handful of states that provides public funding to CPCs. Compared to other state-funded groups that provide similar services, CPCs serve dramatically fewer patients and provide fewer services.

A summary report of the Florida Pregnancy Support Services Program for 2009-2010 describes it as “a program [that] provides support services to pregnant women in an effort to encourage them to continue their pregnancies to childbirth, whether that is to parent the child or have an adoption plan.” Even though many social services in the state have faced budget cuts in the past few years, CPCs have not faced any budget reductions in six years. The document states that “the two million dollar funding amount [for crisis pregnancy centers] has stayed constant since 2005-06.”

The department is this year recommending that the budget for CPCs be reduced by $665,400.

The agency also suggested cutting some funding for services that suffered big cuts last year. Included in that list are family planning services, Healthy Start and Outreach for Pregnant Women. Outreach for Pregnant Women was described as “care coordination for high-risk or HIV-infected pregnant women to ensure they have adequate prenatal care and reduce mother-to- child HIV transmission. Outreach and HIV testing for at-risk women of childbearing age, particularly racial/ethnic minorities.”

Legislators suggested during the presentation that budget cuts proposed by agencies are basically meaningless.

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