Testimony before the S.C. House Legislative Oversight Committee Wednesday raised far more questions than it answered including the fact that Medicaid paid $437,361 for 222 abortions in South Carolina over the past five fiscal years.
While S.C. Department of Health and Human Services Christian Soura said none of those abortions were done at Planned Parenthood, the questions raised are where they were done and for what reason. He documented that Planned Parenthood has received slightly less than $300,000 in five years primarily for contraception.
Soura noted in his testimony that Planned Parenthood in Columbia, S.C., is the only Medicaid qualified abortion business of the three free-standing facilities in South Carolina.
The department is continuing to review Planned Parenthood contracts and other reimbursement questions including payment for two questionable abortions and for pharmacy reimbursements. Planned Parenthood’s website states the Middleburg Mall facility provides both surgical and “medication” abortions. “Medication” abortions involve taking drugs that kill the baby.
South Carolina Citizens for Life specifically requested information about whether Medicaid pays for the abortion drug sometimes known as RU486.
Mr. Soura’s presentation to the committee is here. The hearings will continue November 12, 2015.
In 2011 South Carolina Citizen for Life began raising questions with lawmakers about government funding for Planned Parenthood and abortion providers in South Carolina. Although the Charleston Women’s Medical Center advertises discounts for Medicaid clients, Soura said the center is not enrolled as a Medicaid provider. The center, however, is affiliated with the Medical University of South Carolina as a training camp for future abortionists.
In an August 12, 2015 letter to Representative Garry Smith, R-Simpsonville, SCCL submitted its review of four Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood and raised numerous questions about outdated abortion provider information — one document was more than 30 years old — reimbursement for chemical abortions, and a clearly false statement showing a Planned Parenthood physician claiming to be in Charleston and Columbia at the same time on the same days.
Other questions raised during Wednesday’s hearing included the role of the S.C. Department of Social Services in procuring abortions for underage girls through the judicial by-pass process. The judicial by-pass exception to the Parental Consent Act permits a pregnant minor under the age of 17 to seek a judge’s permission for an abortion if her parents do not consent. The DSS staff is expected to provide information on judicial by-pass abortions at the next committee meeting.
The committee members reviewed the Legislative Audit Counsel Report sharply criticizing the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control for lax enforcement of the S.C. Abortion Clinic Regulations. Since the LAC report was issued in May of 2015, DHEC inspectors have revisited the abortion businesses and found numerous violations of sanitation and hazardous waste regulations.
As a result of an investigation requested by Gov. Nikki Haley, DHEC suspended the licenses of Planned Parenthood citing 21 violations and of the Greenville Women’s Clinic citing six violations. The report can be accessed here. Both submiitted correction plans and paid fines of $7,500 and $2,500 respectively by Monday’s deadline. Planned Parenthood, however, has disputed four of the cited violations and asked for a review by the DHEC Board of Directors.
In a moment of comic relief, Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken, took issue with the Vice President of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic Melissa Reed who told reporters the hearing amounts to a “witch hunt.” Representative Taylor said, “I tell third graders all the time that the government has no money. Zero. We only have the people’s money. So we have the right, the responsibility, and the obligation to ask how the money is being spent.”
LifeNews Note: Holly Gatling is the executive director for South Carolina Citizens for Life.