Planned Parenthood funding stripped

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, FL (WFLX) - Planned Parenthood's presence in the Treasure Coast has been dealt a huge blow. The controversial agency, known for providing teen pregnancy prevention and sex education, as well as abortion services, was stripped of its funding by the Children's Service Council of St. Lucie County Thursday morning.

Outside, people carried signs protesting Planned Parenthood. Inside, in a packed meeting room at the Children's Services Council's offices in Port St. Lucie, many residents urged council members to discontinue funding to the organization.

Council members voted unanimously to award $220,000 to Kids Connected by Design for its Healthy Decision Making Program and $188,550 to the St. Lucie County Boys and Girls Club for its after school/summer programs.

"We're so grateful," said Linda Allard of Port St. Lucie, who attended the meeting. "It's an answer to thousands, maybe millions of prayers."

According to the Children's Services Council, both programs are designed to reduce incidences of teen pregnancy. The council's executive director, Sean Boyle, said it was important for them to consider alternative agencies to offer those services.

"We had a responsibility as a government agency, both to the children and families of St. Lucie County as well as the taxpayers," he said. "I think today's decision continues our trend of funding quality programs that are accountable to children and families and the taxpayers."

For the last 10 years, Planned Parenthood has received funding for teen pregnancy prevention and sex education programs through three programs with a council grant.

Cory Neering, the vice president of education for Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast, said his organization will have to review how much of a presence it will be able to provide in Port St. Lucie in the future. 

"This funding created about ten positions  withing our organization so we will have to make some decisions around what programs we can possibly keep," he said, "but we depend on this funding."

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