South Carolina Governor Abruptly Cuts State, Local Money to Abortion Clinics

Patrice Gainsbourg
Agosto 25, 2017

McMaster's decision directs state agencies to "cease providing state or local funds, whether via grant, contract, state-administered federal funds, or any other form, to any physician or professional medical practice affiliated with an abortion clinic and operating concurrently with - and in the same physical, geographic location or footprint as - an abortion clinic".

On Friday, South Carolina's Governor directed state agencies to stop funding all abortion clinics and requested that that state's Department of Health and Human Services ask the federal government to waive the requirement that the state include abortion clinics in its Medicaid network.

Only three clinics offer elective abortions in SC, including one Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbia. That measure nullified a regulation finalized at the end of President Barack Obama's administration that explicitly stopped states from denying federal Title X family planning funds to clinics that also provide abortion services.

Planned Parenthood, which operates clinics just in Charleston and Columbia in this state, only offers elective abortions at the Columbia office.

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But the judge wrote in his ruling on Tuesday: "A secretly recorded video, fake names, a grand jury indictment, congressional investigations - these are the building blocks of a best-selling novel rather than a case concerning the interplay of federal and state authority through the Medicaid program". But McMaster's order echoes a similar call from Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant in June to defund the group. He says that would help people still have access to health and family planning services.

With the order, McMaster is showing Trump he's a state-level executive willing to follow his lead on issues such as abortion.

South Carolina's three abortion providers get no money directly from the state. According to The State, previous inspections of these clinics by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control found multiple violations that resulted in thousands of dollars of fines and the temporary suspension of two clinics' licenses.

Earlier this summer, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic accused McMaster and Bryant of wasting "taxpayers' time and money on scoring political points".

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