SC Governor, Lt. Gov. make moves against Planned Parenthood funds

COLUMBIA, S.C. —South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant have made separate moves to make sure Planned Parenthood does not receive any tax dollars to perform abortions, while Lt. Gov. Bryant wants to defund Planned Parenthood completely.

Lt. Gov. Bryant told reporters late Tuesday, “I will ratify this year’s budget, but this year’s budget contains funds that will go to abortion providers for services other than abortions. And I am under the conviction that anyone providing abortions should not have any business with the state; that no taxpayer dollars should go to evil organizations like Planned Parenthood. And I’m challenging the legislature that the budget next year not to contain a penny for abortion providers. If the budget next year contains any funding for abortion providers, I will not be ratifying that act.”

Ratifying acts is a duty of the Senate President, which is the lieutenant governor, and the Speaker of the House. They both have to sign a bill that’s been passed by both bodies before sending it on to the governor. But if the lieutenant governor were to refuse to ratify the budget or any other bill, the president pro tempore of the Senate could do it instead.

Gov. McMaster sent a letter to the board of the Department of Health and Environmental Control June 5th asking it to reaffirm, by recorded vote, that it is prohibited from giving any Title X federal grants to local health care providers that perform abortions. Those grants come from the federal government and DHEC passes them along to local entities that provide preventive health care for people who couldn’t get those services otherwise.

On January 18, 2017, then-President Obama finalized a new federal rule that required that states provide Title X grants to groups like Planned Parenthood. But Congress and President Trump repealed that rule effective April 13th.

Gov.  McMaster is asking for the recorded vote by the DHEC board to reaffirm that the agency prohibits sending Title X money to any health care provider that performs abortions.

Vicki Ringer, SC Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, said in a written statement, “Planned Parenthood South Atlantic has provided annual exams, birth control, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and lifesaving cancer screenings- such as clinical breast exams and Pap tests- to women, men and young people in South Carolina for over 50 years.

Planned Parenthood does not receive Title X funding or any other grants through the state of South Carolina. We do serve patients who rely on Medicaid for their insurance, and provide basic healthcare to men and women who participate in the state health insurance plan.

Given this clear-cut information, today’s remarks and actions by Lt. Governor Bryant and Governor McMaster are simply a political stunt. While they spend taxpayers’ time and money on scoring political points, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic will continue to focus on providing the wide-range of accessible, affordable health care services that our patients, and their constituents, rely on.”