South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has banned abortion providers from the list of his state’s Medicaid providers.
In an executive order Friday, the Republican governor noted, “The preservation of life is the ultimate right to be protected and necessarily includes the life of unborn children,” and that “the payment of taxpayer funds to abortion clinics, for any purpose, results in the subsidy of abortion and the denial of the right to life.”
Additionally, South Carolina “also recognizes that the availability of women’s health and family planning services is important in providing for healthy families and children,” the order says, and that the state’s health agency “expends taxpayer dollars to pay for health care services, including family planning services.”
“Although the state should not contract with abortion clinics for family planning services, the state also should not deny South Carolinians’ access to necessary medical care and important women’s health and family planning services, which are provided by a variety of other non-governmental entities and governmental agencies,” McMaster said in his order Friday.
Federally qualified healthcare facilities in South Carolina that accept Medicaid as payment and provide more expansive services than abortion clinics can be accessed at getyourcare.org.
McMaster also ordered the state’s health agency to use funds left over from last year’s budget for health care services for low-income individuals in South Carolina. The governor vetoed nearly $16 million for low-income individuals from the coming year’s budget in order to cut Planned Parenthood’s funding. Now, with the excess funds from last year’s budget, he is providing monies for low-income services without funding abortion clinics.
“The governor has been very clear, for over a year and a half now, that he firmly believes no taxpayer dollars should directly or indirectly subsidize abortion, and this is another step in that direction,” Brian Symmes, spokesman for the governor said, according to the State. “And it’s a fight he’s willing to fight.”
Planned Parenthood warned cutting its funds will result in more unwanted pregnancies in the state.
“We’ve seen that states that have restricted or excluded Planned Parenthood’s participation from their Medicaid programs have suffered disastrous public health consequences,” said Sarah Riddle, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.
McMaster took office in January 2017 following the resignation of former Gov. Nikki Haley to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. McMaster is running against Democrat James Smith, Jr. in the November general election.