South Carolina Ends Public Funds For Abortion

Conservatives continued their crackdown on Planned Parenthood last week when South Carolina’s Republican governor Henry McMaster issued an abortion-related executive order. In the order, McMaster ends all public funding for abortion in South Carolina. State agencies were ordered to stop providing funds to any medical practices that were either operating or affiliated with abortion clinics.

The executive order gave specific directions to several state agencies. First, South Carolina’s state Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will request waivers from the federal government to exclude the state’s abortion clinics from the Medicaid provider network. Charleston’s newspaper, The Post and Courier, states that South Carolina has only three clinics in the entire state that perform elective abortions, and only one is a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Second, the state’s HHS was directed to coordinate with the state Department of Health and Environmental Control regarding clinics that are not affiliated with abortions. The groups will direct women toward clinics that can provide women’s health services, including family planning, but that do not provide abortions. The agencies are compiling a list of these non-abortion clinics within 25 miles of the abortion clinics to offer people an alternative. “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 performing abortions,” McMaster said. The pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony list says that federally-supported non-abortion clinics that offer comprehensive health care outnumber Planned Parenthood’s clinics by 134 to 1 in the state.

McMaster said that South Carolina taxpayers feel strongly that “taxpayer dollars must not directly or indirectly subsidize abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.”

Planned Parenthood’s (PP) serves 5 million female patients per year, and as such, claims to be America’s largest provider of reproductive health services. These services vary depending on which of the 650 health centers is visited. PP claims they provide information to 2.5 million women and men annually, and that they also provide over 1 million pregnancy tests annually.

In a Government Accounting Office (GAO) report released in 2015 (but reporting data from 2010-2012), the majority of patients (83 percent) are age 20 or older, and nearly 80 percent were low income. PP purports its primary function to be prevention and states that 80 percent of patients receive services to prevent unintended pregnancy. They report prevention of nearly 600,000 unintended pregnancies each year through services like birth control, reversible contraception and vasectomies.

PP also reports they provided 4.2 million tests and treatments per year, such as pap smears to screen for cervical cancer (270,000) and breast exams (360,000).

Regarding abortion, PP says that only 3 percent of its services are abortion-related, which adds up to 324,000 abortions in 2014 alone. Additionally, they provided nearly 1 million emergency contraception kits, more commonly known as the “morning after pill” that must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. PP separates this out into a different category, but some people believe this also to be a form of abortion.

South Carolina Planned Parenthood spokesperson Vicki Ringer made a statement shortly after the governor’s executive order was issued. Ringer stated that for 50 years, PP has provided important services to women, and added that PP receives no state funding other than serving Medicaid patients and patients who rely on the state health insurance plan. Therefore, she called the governor’s actions a “political stunt” and said that “while he [McMaster] spends taxpayer time and money on scoring political points, Planned Parenthood South Carolina will continue to focus on providing the wide-range of accessible, affordable health care services that our patients, and his constituents, rely on.”

A 2016 survey by the non-profit Guttmacher Institute that works to advance reproductive health through public education stated that 26 percent of PP patients said it was the only place they could go for services, thus the governor’s move to compile the list of non-abortion clinics that offer the same services.

In April, President Trump signed an order allowing states to decide whether to provide public funding to abortion clinics. South Carolina joins 12 other states who have decided to end public funding of abortion clinics.

~ Christian Patriot Daily


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