It's been a goal of Planned Parenthood for more than a decade: to build a facility in Manatee County. Now, that goal is reality!
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Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, Inc. has officially opened its first Health Center in Manatee County on Wednesday, July 23, 2008. Supporters and staff gathered to celebrate the event after decades of opposition. The new health center is located at 1105 53rd Avenue East, Suite 201, Bradenton, FL 34203, located in the Forrest Park Health complex. "It has been my goal to help reduce the high teen pregnancy rate and high teen, repeat-birth rates in Manatee County ever since I joined Planned Parenthood 14 years ago.” said Barbara Zdravecky, Chief Executive Officer and President of the Planned Parenthood Southwest and Central Florida. The clinic will offer family planning education, birth control and contraceptive counseling as well as health and cancer screenings. No abortions will be performed at the Manatee clinic, Zdravecky said. Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, stood by Zdravecky's as she made the announcement at a press conference prior to the Florida organization's 42nd Annual Dinner at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium. "I am here to help celebrate the incredible effort that has happened here," said Richards, who is the daughter of the late Ann Richards, former governor of Texas. "Opening a clinic in Manatee County is what Planned Parenthood is all about. We identify a need and then put together a plan to make it happen," she said. The regional affiliate has raised a total of $9.5 million toward its capital campaign to build a new headquarters in Sarasota and opening three additional clinics. News of the Manatee clinic thrilled Karen Stewart, former chairwoman of Teen Pregnancy Prevention Task Force and a Bradenton resident. "What a great location," Stewart said. "We really need this clinic. The teen pregnancy rates in Manatee County are much higher than the state and national averages. Teens need a recognizable place where they can go to get information regarding contraception and abstinence information - and Planned Parenthood does both." "The common ground is really shaky here is Manatee County and while we have been trying to find that common ground, teens have still been getting pregnant," she said. "This clinic is long overdue," said Richards. Manatee County has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state. Out of 67 counties, Manatee is the 17th highest; and, in births to teens 10 to 14 years of age, Manatee has the 13th highest rate. In 2006, one-third of 2,196 ninth-graders surveyed admitted that they had sexual intercourse. This was a 3 percent increase over the 2004 results. Of the ninth-graders surveyed, one out of 10 acknowledged having had sex with four or more partners. Manatee County has the 12th highest rate of newly-diagnosed HIV cases and the 12th highest rate of pediatric AIDS cases. After reading these startling statistics I am sure you understand just why the opening of this Manatee County health center is so important. If you would like to make an appointment, click here to find out more information!
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July 24, 2008