Last month, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster handed down a controversial executive order, prohibiting Medicaid money from being used at abortion clinics.
Now, Planned Parenthood is suing.
The nation’s largest abortion provider, along with a patient, filed the lawsuit on Friday in US District Court. The suit alleges that prior court case decisions make it clear that the state cannot interfere with which provider(s) Medicaid patients choose to see.
An official statement from Planned Parenthood to that end reads: “Federal law prohibits states from interfering with Medicaid patients’ access to the qualified provider of their choice.”
Governor McMaster’s July directive had stipulated that the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services “terminate abortion clinics as Medicaid providers.”
As a result, Planned Parenthood is now claiming that low-income, under-resourced patients will have virtually no access to things like government-funded birth control, and STD testing. Furthermore, they claim that there is already a shortage of healthcare providers in South Carolina.
Jenny Black, CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, said in a statement that “The women and men who come to Planned Parenthood for healthcare aren’t doing so to make a political statement. Every day that this continues,” continues Black, “both (Planned Parenthood) and our patients are irreparably harmed.”
But not everyone agrees that Planned Parenthood’s services are necessary for women’s health.
Holly Gatling, executive director of South Carolina Citizens for Life, issued a sharp rebuke of that claim. “It is utterly laughable that Planned Parenthood claims poor women have nowhere else to turn for health services,” Gatling 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.”
Governor McMaster also clearly disagrees that Planned Parenthood is essential to the well-being of South Carolina women.
The governor’s spokesman, Brian Symmes, issued a statement Friday night. According to Symmes, “Gov. McMaster ordered (Health and Human Services) to continue reimbursing family planning providers because he recognizes how important those services are. But like millions of South Carolinians,” Symmes adds, “he believes in the fundamental right to life for unborn children and does not believe tax dollars should go to organizations that perform elective abortions, and he will fight this foolish lawsuit with everything he has.”
Not surprisingly, pro-life advocates are also coming out in support of Governor McMaster’s recent directive.
National Right to Life News Today reports that Lisa Van Riper, president of South Carolina Citizens for Life, commends “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.”
Though the governor’s order did not name Planned Parenthood specifically, the abortion giant is allegedly the only free-standing abortion facility in South Carolina that receives Medicaid funding. To that end, Governor McMaster said that “payment of taxpayer funds to abortion clinics, for any purpose, results in the subsidy of abortion and the denial of the right to life.”
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic runs a total of 14 clinics across North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.