South Carolina Defends Defunding Planned Parenthood: Women Don’t Depend on It for Health Care

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Aug 14, 2018   |   5:31PM   |   Columbia, SC

Lawyers for South Carolina defended their governor’s order to defund the abortion giant Planned Parenthood on Monday, arguing that women do not depend on it for health care.

The Charlotte Observer reports South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services filed their response Monday to a Planned Parenthood lawsuit.

The abortion chain wants a court to block Gov. Henry McMaster’s executive order instructing the state Department of Health and Human Services to “terminate abortion clinics as Medicaid providers.” The pro-life governor issued the order in July after vetoing a health care spending bill that included tax dollars for Planned Parenthood.

In the court filing Monday, attorneys for the department defended the governor’s move, arguing that Planned Parenthood serves a “remarkably low” number of Medicaid patients in the state. According to the abortion group’s own statements, its South Carolina facilities see fewer than 300 Medicaid patients a year.

According to the state HHS, just 257 of the 1.2 million Medicaid patients in South Carolina visited Planned Parenthoods in 2017. The abortion chain also received about $85,000 in taxpayer-funded Medicaid funds in the past two years, according to the report.

Here’s more from the local news:

Health and Human Services attorneys also contend Medicaid “expressly permits states to exclude providers … for ethical, professional and fiscal misconduct.” …

“(T)he fact is that there are many other providers available to see (Planned Parenthood’s) limited number of patients,” the state agency said. “After all, the vast majority of Medicaid recipients in need of reproductive health services and birth control prescriptions receive those services and prescriptions elsewhere.”

McMaster, who is not a party in the lawsuit, made similar statements earlier in July.

“Taxpayer dollars must not directly or indirectly subsidize abortion providers like Planned Parenthood,” he said July 6 when he vetoed the health care spending bill. “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.”

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He also has argued that Planned Parenthood’s unethical handling of aborted babies’ body parts also should suffice as a reason to stop giving it tax dollars.

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.”

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 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.