South Carolina House lawmakers voted Tuesday to ensure that the abortion giant Planned Parenthood does not receive tax dollars from their state.
The amendment, approved as part of the 2019-2020 general budget, passed in a 84-31 vote during an hours-long debate on state spending as a whole, the AP reports. The final budget passed the House early Wednesday morning in a 112-1 vote, and now moves to the state Senate for consideration.
Pro-life legislators have been working aggressively for years to ensure that Planned Parenthood does not receive any tax money from the state. The budget amendment is just one of many steps to help ensure it does not happen.
WLTX 19 News reports lawmakers debate the measure for more than two hours after several Democrats argued that the state already has defunded abortion groups.
State Rep. Ashley Trantham, who sponsored the amendment, answered that Gov. Henry McMaster requested it as part of the budget.
“From what I’ve been told, what I understand, there are indeed dollars going towards abortions in South Carolina,” Trantham said.
The vote follows up on actions taken last year to protect tax dollars from directly and indirectly funding unborn babies abortion deaths. In October, the South Carolina legislature also approved a defunding measure in support of McMaster’s veto of a health care spending bill that included about $82,000 in Medicaid funds for Planned Parenthood.
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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 in 2018 was to reject about $14 million in federal Medicaid funds and use state funds instead for low income health care.
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.
In 2017, 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.
Despite these and other actions, Planned Parenthoods in the state still received about $82,000 in Medicaid funds in 2017. It is not clear how much, if any, money it received through the state in 2018.
The pro-life governor previously 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,” the governor said.
In 2017, he 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 330,000 unborn babies every year. Its most recent annual report showed a record income of $1.6 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.