Planned Parenthood Sues South Carolina to Restore Funding; Pro-life Governor Vows to Fight

(Photo: REUTERS/Eric Thayer)People attend the March for Life rally in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2018.

Planned Parenthood is suing South Carolina in an attempt to restore funding from the state's Medicaid program that the state's governor recently cut through an executive order.

Governor Henry McMaster, R-S.C., stripped abortion providers of over $15 million in tax dollars in the latest state budget earlier this month through use of his line-item veto. Of that $15 million, $100,000 would have been for Planned Parenthood centers, LifeSiteNews reported Monday. McMaster also signed an executive order that disqualified abortion facilities from being Medicaid providers.

"I have stated many times I am opposed to what Planned Parenthood is doing. And the veto I have is the most direct way," McMaster explained.

"There are a variety of agencies, clinics, and medical entities in South Carolina that receive taxpayer funding to offer important women's health and family planning services without offering abortions."

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, which filed the lawsuit, asserts that previous, relevant court rulings establish that patients who use Medicaid as their insurance have the right to visit any qualified provider accepting of Medicaid payments. PPSA operates 14 locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, and insists that both they and their patients are being harmed, particularly low-income patients who are being denied medical services and family planning as a result of the governor's action.

Through a spokesman Friday, the governor said that reimbursements of family planning would continue, but that state funds would remain cut off from groups that perform elective abortions and that he intends to "fight this foolish lawsuit with everything he has."

"Like millions of South Carolinians, he (McMaster) believes in the fundamental right to life for unborn children and does not believe tax dollars should go to organizations that perform elective abortions," he said in the statement

According to South Carolina newspaper The State Friday, in the past two years the abortion giant has received less than $85,000 in Medicaid reimbursements.

South Carolina is home to two Planned Parenthood locations, one in Columbia, the other in Charleston. By contrast, the Palmetto state has 268 qualified health centers and clinics. Only four abortion centers exist in South Carolina, according to Abortion.com.

McMaster, who is backed by President Donald Trump, is running for reelection against Democratic state Rep. James Smith.

Smith has said he believes the Republican governor "has dug us into a legal hole with his executive order," adding that as governor he "wouldn't lead us into expensive, unwinnable lawsuits."

When surveyed, a majority of South Carolinians, 52 percent, told Pew researchers in 2014 that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.

Thus far, efforts to defund Planned Parenthood at the federal level have proven unsuccessful.

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