South Carolina will vigorously defend pro-life executive order against Planned Parenthood’s latest lawsuit

By Dave Andrusko

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster

On July 13, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, reiterating the state’s “strong culture and longstanding tradition of protecting and defending the life and liberty of unborn children,” ordered the Department of Health and Human Services “to take all necessary actions to exclude abortion clinics from receiving taxpayer funds for any purpose.”

The Associated Press reported over the weekend that “Planned Parenthood says it is suing to try to get a judge to overturn South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster’s order that it couldn’t provide services under the state Medicaid health plan. Planned Parenthood says that decision means thousands of poor women on Medicaid won’t be able to get pelvic exams, birth control or testing for sexually transmitted diseases.”

According to the AP, Brian Symmes, Gov. McMaster spokesman, “says McMaster will fight the lawsuit as hard as he can because he doesn’t think taxpayer money should go to anyone who provides abortions.”

Planned Parenthood’s absurd contention that it is indispensable received a searing rebuttal from Holly Gatling, executive director of South Carolina Citizens for Life.

“It is utterly laughable that Planned Parenthood claims poor women have nowhere else to turn for health services,” she said. “There are numerous health clinics throughout South Carolina that offer high quality, comprehensive health care to women of childbearing age without peddling abortion as just another means of birth control.”

Indeed, when he issued executive order 2018-21, Gov. McMaster made clear that 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 and governmental agencies.”

Gov. McMaster did not name Planned Parenthood specifically. However it is the only free-standing abortion facility in South Carolina that receives Medicaid funding. Gov. McMaster noted 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.”

The week before he issue his executive order, Gov. McMaster vetoed all family planning funds in the new budget in order to fulfill a campaign promise that he would “do whatever I can to stop Planned Parenthood from getting taxpayer money.”

Lisa Van Riper, President of South Carolina Citizens for Life, warmly praised the governor.

“We commend Gov. McMaster for not only keeping his promise to protect innocent human life in South Carolina but also keeping his promise to taxpayers of South Carolina who should not be forced to fund agencies that destroy human life,” she said.

Gatling added, “Abortion is not health care. Abortion is an act of violence that kills an unborn member of our human family.”

South Carolina Citizens for Life has been instrumental in supporting the passage of strong pro-life laws that correlate with the dramatic 63% reduction in the number of abortions occurring in our state.