South Carolina Governor Bans Abortion Funding

August 25, 2017 Updated: August 25, 2017

South Carolina’s governor has ordered a ban on all state funding for abortion providers on Friday.

Republican Governor Henry McMaster’s executive order bars state agencies from providing funds to any doctor or medical practice affiliated with an abortion clinic and operating with a clinic in the same site, his office said in a statement.

McMaster said there were a variety of taxpayer-funded medical agencies that provided women’s health and family planning services without performing abortions.

“Taxpayer dollars must not directly or indirectly subsidize abortion providers like Planned Parenthood,” he said in the statement.

In his order signed on Thursday, McMaster also directed the state agency for Medicaid, the federal health insurance program for the poor and disabled, to seek permission from the federal government to bar abortion clinics from the state’s Medicaid provider network.

Under McMaster’s order, abortion providers are excluded from state family planning funds. Indiana and Arizona tried to enact similar restrictions but they were overturned in court, said Elizabeth Nash, an analyst with the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks abortion policy.

Thirteen states have some restrictions on how family planning funds are used, Nash said. Federal law has long banned the use of federal funds for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger.

“South Carolina is among a handful of states that is trying something this broad,” she said in an interview.

 

There were seven facilities in South Carolina providing abortions in 2014, according to the most recent available figures on the Guttmacher Institute’s website. They include one clinic operated by Planned Parenthood in Columbia.

By Ian Simpson