South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster continued this week to implement his promise to defund the abortion chain Planned Parenthood of tax dollars.
Last week, McMaster took a bold stance against the abortion industry by vetoing a health care spending bill that included tax dollars for Planned Parenthood. This week, he followed up by issuing an executive order instructing the state Department of Health and Human Services to “terminate abortion clinics as Medicaid providers,” The Post and Courier reports.
The Republican governor’s order also instructs the department to continue covering necessary medical care for state Medicare patients until he and lawmakers have worked out the funding, the report states.
“Taxpayer dollars must not directly or indirectly subsidize abortion providers like Planned Parenthood,” McMaster said July 6 when he announced his veto. “There are a variety of agencies, clinics and medical entities in South Carolina that receive taxpayer funding (that) offer important women’s health and family-planning services without performing abortions.”
Here’s more from the report:
Hundreds of thousands of low-income South Carolinians qualify for family planning benefits, include pelvic exams and birth control, through the state Medicaid agency. [Spokesman for the governor Brian] Symmes said McMaster always intented to impact as few of them as possible in his bid to stop any government money from flowing to Planned Parenthood.
But existing federal laws mandate that Medicaid patients may seek family planning services at the health care clinics of their own choosing.
To exclude abortion providers from Medicaid family planning provider network, the agency must establish that the clinics were otherwise disqualified for some legitimate reason. For example, health care providers convicted of billing fraud have been disqualified from the Medicaid program in recent years. But it is not immediately clear that any abortion provider in South Carolina has violated the rules of participation.
The State reports McMaster has vowed to continue his opposition to the $16 million health care funding bill until the abortion giant Planned Parenthood is completely defunded.
The Republican governor and legislature have cut various streams of funding to the abortion chain, but Planned Parenthoods in the state still received $82,000 in Medicaid funds in 2017, according to the report.
Last year, McMaster instructed the state Department of Health and Human Services to request a waiver from the federal government to defund abortion groups of Medicaid dollars. That waver has not yet been granted, but McMaster said he will not back down.
In May, he described Planned Parenthood as a “blemish on the great character of the people of South Carolina and this country.”
The governor continued: “I’m going to do all I can do to see they get no taxpayer money. I can accomplish that. And I will, along with President Trump.”
In 2017, he also directed state agencies to stop giving funds to or contracting with groups that provide abortions. A state report detailing funding between 2011 and 2017 found Planned Parenthood received at least $312,000 from the state Department of Health and Human Services and the South Carolina Public Employment Benefit Authority.
Planned Parenthood aborts approximately 320,000 unborn babies every year, more than any other group in the United States. Its most recent annual report showed a record income of $1.46 billion, with about half a billion dollars coming from taxpayers. At the federal level, President Donald Trump and his administration also have been cutting off various streams of funding to abortion groups.
In December, the U.S. Department of Justice said it is investigating whether the Planned Parenthood abortion chain illegally sold aborted baby body parts.