Florida's Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich isn't too happy today about the state's Republican leadership's rejection of $50 million in federal funds to protect people like at-risk kids and senior citizens, then turning around and accepting $2.6 million of federal coin to promote the state's abstinence-only program.
The Weston Democrat says the state's Republicans love to champion their refusal of cash from the feds but then have no qualm with taking the money if it "advances their extreme agenda."
Florida Republicans have long said they can't take money from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act because it's just so darned unconstitutional. Problem is, the $2.6 million for the sex-is-the-devil program came from the same fund. Whoops.
The state's abstinence-only program, which is run by the Florida Department of Health, ain't exactly healthy.
In Florida, abstinence until marriage is considered the "expected societal norm," and religious organizations are encouraged to be part of the program.
All the nutty details on that can be found here, courtesy of the Department of Health.
That's why Rich is asking that Republican legislators cut the crap with health-care funding and stop "pandering to their tea party supporters," according to a statement from her office:
The reasoning for shunning the money is dubious at best. Legislative leadership is willing to overlook their opposition to federal health care reform, and take federal funding in one case because of a 'long-standing commitment' by the state to abstinence-only programs -- even though studies show these programs aren't effective. But when we have an evidence-based program like the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) that has been proven effective in decreasing teen pregnancy, they put politics ahead of good policy...
With all of the dramatic cuts to critical services the Republicans have leveled on Florida because of their blind obedience to a failed economic policy, severing the few remaining lifelines so many young and elderly depend on is not only cruel, it's unjustifiable. It's time they put the good of the people over pandering to their tea party supporters.
Other programs that were denied funds by the state Legislature include teen pregnancy prevention, child abuse prevention, hospice and community health centers, and moving old folks from nursing homes into home and community-based care, among others.
Those apparently aren't problems, but people having sex outside of wedlock -- preposterous.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.