South Carolina has become one of the most aggressive states in the battle to strip tax dollars from America’s largest abortion provider.
On Wednesday, the state House approved an effort by Gov. Henry McMaster to defund Planned Parenthood of taxpayer dollars, according to the Greenville News. The vote was 77-31.
The lawmakers voted to uphold McMaster’s veto of a health care spending bill that included about $82,000 in Medicaid funds for Planned Parenthood in 2018, according to the report.
Because Medicaid is a federal program, states face major challenges when trying to stop those funds from going to abortion facilities. The tactic taken by South Carolina lawmakers Wednesday was to reject about $14 million in federal Medicaid funds and use state funds instead for low income health care, the report states.
“The governor has taken decisive steps to ensure that every family-planning provider in this state that does not provide abortions can keep their funding,” McMaster spokesman Brian Symmes said.
Here’s more from the report:
The vote Wednesday means the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services must spend from its $231 million reserve fund to replace the nearly $16 million in family-planning dollars that lawmakers slashed from the state budget. …
Planned Parenthood Votes South Atlantic spokeswoman Vicki Ringer said McMaster’s push to defund Planned Parenthood punishes the men, women and teens who rely on its clinics for important services.
“They don’t come to Planned Parenthood to make a political statement,” Ringer said. “They come for quality health care.”
McMaster said South Carolina residents will not lose access to high quality health care.
“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,” he said in July. “Taxpayer dollars must not directly or indirectly subsidize abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.”
Over the past several years, the Republican governor and legislature have cut various streams of funding to the abortion chain, but Planned Parenthoods in the state still received about $82,000 in Medicaid funds in 2017, according to the report.
In July, McMaster signed an executive order instructing the state Department of Health and Human Services to “terminate abortion clinics as Medicaid providers.” Planned Parenthood is challenging the order in court.
Last year, McMaster also instructed the department 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.”
“They need to stop doing that. 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 of 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 is the largest abortion business in America, aborting approximately 320,000 unborn babies every year. 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.