Gov. Henry McMaster ordered South Carolina’s Medicaid agency to use leftover funds to cover $16 million in vetoed family planning dollars, but not for abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.
In an executive order released Friday, McMaster directed the state Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) to utilize carry-forward funds it has left over from last fiscal year’s budget to continue the Family Planning program. The governor vetoed a similar amount of money last week in this year’s budget to prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving it. However, the abortion provider accounts for only a sliver of the money annually spent by the program.
“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 entities and governmental agencies,” McMaster said in a statement.
South Carolina is seeking a waiver from the federal government to clip Planned Parenthood out of future Medicaid dollars. While the organization does not use Medicaid money for abortions, its pro-life opponents say taxpayer money should not subsidize its operations. It was not clear Friday if the organization plans to file a legal challenge. State legislators would also likely need to give their approval for existing funds to be spent in ways not approved by the budget.
Family planning dollars fund services such as birth control and sexually-transmitted disease testing.