Gov. Henry McMaster issued a bold executive order on Friday cutting off all public funding to health care providers affiliated with abortion clinics in South Carolina.
Included in the order is his instruction for the South Carolina Medicaid agency to seek permission from the federal government to exclude abortion clinics from the state’s Medicaid provider network. McMaster said this is because there are many agencies, clinics and medical entities in South Carolina that do receive taxpayer funding and offer essential women’s health and family planning services without performing abortions.
McMaster said: “Taxpayer dollars must not directly or indirectly subsidize abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.”
There are three clinics that offer effective abortions in South Carolina, one of them is located in Columbia and is a Planned Parenthood Clinic. As it is, federal law already disallows Medicaid money from being used to pay for abortions, with exceptions for cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger.
Those who are opposing the governor’s order has vowed that the battle is far from over. One of them is Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood Federation of America who issued a reaction statement on Friday. She also said that 4,000 patients in South Carolina receive birth control, cancer screenings and other preventive care at Planned Parenthood clinic each year.
Dr. McDonald-Mosley also said: “And we’ll leave no stone unturned to protect our patients’ access to health care.”
Although it is unclear whether Planned Parenthood would threaten legal action against McMaster’s order.
President Trump also signed a law in April that allows states to prevent abortion clinics from receiving money through federal planning grants. A federal judge, however, temporarily halted an attempt in Texas to defund Planned Parenthood in February, giving permission to abortion clinics to go on treating Medicaid patients. The Texas attorney general has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals to overturn that ruling.
There are those who strongly support McMaster’s order like local anti-abortion activist Cheryle Freiberger who said: “The government should not be supporting (abortions). We want abortion to be unthinkable.”