South Carolina governor blocks state funding for abortion

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered that all forms of state funding for abortion facilities be stopped, saying the state does not need to support abortion clinics in order to grant women access to family planning services.

(REUTERS / Joshua Roberts)Governor of South Carolina Henry McMaster speaks at 2017 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Oxon Hill, Maryland, U.S., June 19, 2017.

In a statement on Aug. 25, Gov. McMaster announced his order to discontinue taxpayer funding to abortion facilities. Highlighting the state's culture of protecting the life of the unborn, the Republican governor also told South Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services to ask for a waiver to end Medicaid funding to the said clinics and facilities, Christian Network News relayed.

"I hereby direct all state agencies to take any and all necessary actions ... to cease providing state or local funds, whether via grant, contract, state-ministered 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," Gov. McMaster said in his order.

McMaster emphasized that taxpayers' money must not fund Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, whether directly or indirectly. His order noted the state legislature's conclusion that funds for family planning services must not be used to terminate pregnancies.

Pro-choice groups reacted negatively to the executive order. The South Carolina Chapter of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists wrote a letter that expressed concern that McMaster's order would spark threats and violence against health care workers, The Associated Press reported.

The group of obstetricians and gynecologists also raised concern over the restriction on Medicaid specified in the order. They claimed that it would create a health care gap for cervical cancer screenings and other similar services that were not available with other providers.

Pro-life groups, on the other hand, applauded Gov. McMaster's order to halt state-funded abortions. Lisa Van Riper of the South Carolina Citizens for Life said taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize entities that willfully end the life of unborn children.