S.C. Governor promises to contest judge’s decision blocking state from barring taxpayer funds from going to abortion providers

By Dave Andrusko

Last month NRL News Today reported that 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,” had 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 governor was alluding to a suit filed by Planned Parenthood that (in the words of the AP) was “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.”

According to the AP, Brian Semmes, Gov. McMaster’s 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.”

Alas, as expected, on Tuesday U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis granted Planned Parenthood a temporary injunction against Gov. McMaster’s July order to remove Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid provider.

Symmes said Gov. McMaster was disappointed with the 18 page ruling. “But he will continue to do all that he can to make sure no taxpayer dollars either directly or indirectly subsidize abortions in South Carolina,” he told Tim Smith of the Greenville News. “That’s why he ordered HHS (the state’s Medicaid agency) to develop the waiver that it submitted to CMS for approval last week and will continue to fight until every South Carolinian can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that their taxpayer dollars are not being used to perform abortions.”

For his part, speaking at an event in Fort Mill Thursday, the governor said he stood firmly behind his decision and has plans to contest the decision, according to WCNC.

“We hope to win that point and I have finished the paperwork. It took a while to get an exemption from the federal government rules, but my position is the taxpayers of South Carolina who do not support the promotion of abortion should not have to support with their tax money the promotion of abortion and that’s what planned parenthood does any way you look at it.”

Back in July, 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.”

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.