Florida to introduce new pregnancy and parenting resource website

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Expectant families will soon have access to a new, state-supported pregnancy and parenting resource hub launching next year, under a law set to take effect July 1.

The website is set to be run by the Department of Health, collaborating with the Department of Children and Families and the Agency for Health Care Administration.

The law, HB-415, was sponsored by Pinellas Republican State Representative Berny Jacques. But not all lawmakers were on board.

“Are you concerned at all that there won’t be a full picture of families’ options when it comes to pregnancy?” asked State Senator Lauren Book during a March Senate session.

“No,” replied State Senator Erin Grall. “I’m confident the resources that the state provides to families and makes available will be accessible through this website.”

The website will include educational materials on pregnancy and parenting, educational and mentorship programs for fathers, financial assistance and adoption services, among other information.

The legislation passed almost along party lines, as Democrats pushed bill sponsors to include information about access on the website. But amendments to include abortion were dismissed since abortions are tax-supported in Florida.

However, information about crisis pregnancy centers would be included, as well as other state-funded services.

“Pretty much anything that you could ask for,” said State Senator Tina Polsky. “That if you were pregnant and you wanted to get information on what our state provided, it is right there, on the Florida Department of Health website. Why do we need another website?”

“It is a very difficult to use website,” responded Senator Grall. “It is not up-to-date with all of the programs that we currently provide.”

The new law also includes nearly $500,000 for a third party to develop the website.

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