The state of Florida has spent roughly $45,000 on a study of the sex lives of its residents, offering the participants $10 CVS gift cards in return for their answers.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Sunday that the Department of Health sent surveys to 4,100 women between the target ages of 18 and 24, which officials say will help them understand women’s need for family-planning services.
The 12-page questionnaire, sent out in September and October, reportedly had 46 questions. They included, according to the Sun Sentinel:
• How did you feel emotionally when you had unprotected sex — were you trying to get pregnant, were you in the “heat of the moment and just went with the flow,” or did you find the man attractive and “thought it would be nice to have a baby with him?” Did you feel “powerless”? Or was it that you “felt emotionally connected with your partner during sex”?
• How old were you when you first had sex? Last time you had sex with a man, did you do anything to keep from getting pregnant? If not, why not?
• Has a sexual partner ever “told you he would have a baby with someone else if you didn’t get pregnant?” “Physically forced you to have sex?” “Hurt you physically because you did not agree to get pregnant?”
• Are you depressed? Have you ever been physically abused? What’s your religion? Do you smoke? How much do you weigh?
Acting Director Betsy Wood of the state Division of Community Health Promotion apparently added her own message, reassuring: “Taking part is up to you. You can refuse to take part. You can join now and quit later. Either way, it won’t affect how we treat you.”
The state recently chose to halt the program, after a minor received the letter and raised awareness.
“We obviously offered an apology sent back in writing,” state Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong said, “and will work to ensure that moving forward, this never happens again.” His communications director added that the survey was written by Armstrong’s predecessor, and they are “glad to hear the department has stopped using it.”
Florida resident David Brown said one of the women who received the letters showed it to him, and he thought it was “incredibly offensive and invasive.”
“She thought that it was an unconscionable invasion of her privacy,” Brown explained. “There wasn’t enough information to tell her who really did this and where the budget was for it, whether the information was going to be kept private, and really…how does this information in any way help?”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
(H/T: Drudge Report)