Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida legislators okay funds for abstinence education

While the state Legislature has turned its back on millions in health care grants from the federal Affordable Care Act, it appears there's an exception to the rule: Programs aimed at teaching kids to say no to sex.

Appropriations authorized by the federal law give Florida $2.6 million per year from fiscal year 2010 through 2014 to fund the state's Abstinence Education Program. And the state will match those funds with nearly $2 million more.

Florida's statewide campaign, "It's Great to Wait," encourages youths between ages 9 and 18 to abstain from sex before marriage.

While the grant doesn't explicitly prohibit lessons on contraception, it requires programs to teach that "abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and other associated health problems."

Programs also educate young people how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and drug use increases vulnerability.

Abstinence-only education has been favored by conservative groups, but it is controversial among scientists who say there isn't solid evidence that it is effective in curbing teen pregnancy.

For at least two other programs, the Legislature refused funds, even though the governor's office and the Agency for Health Care Administration requested them.

The Money Follows the Person Grant would give Florida $37.5 million to help transition the elderly and the disabled out of nursing homes and back into the community. The Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting grant would have initially awarded $3.4 million, with more to come. It would have provided nurses and case workers to visit the homes of new and expectant mothers to give them support.

Thirteen organizations received abstinence education funding, including the Pinellas Crisis Pregnancy Center, with locations in Pinellas Park, Largo and Dunedin. is a public media project of the Corporation of Public Broadcasting at WUSF in Tampa.

Florida legislators okay funds for abstinence education 08/03/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 11:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.