US

South Carolina Governor Responds to Court Overruling His Anti-Abortion Bill

By Victor Westerkamp

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster spoke out on CBS radio yesterday about the Federal Court thwarting his Bill to bar abortion clinics from receiving money through Medicaid.

“Most taxpayers in this state do not favor their money being spent on abortions. We intend to take the case, follow up and go to the Supreme Court,” McMaster said on Friday’s episode of CBS’s “The Takeout,” hosted by Major Garett.

“If they can’t use those funds, that will greatly inhibit their ability to give abortion, and they’re the only ones doing it,” McMaster told Garett, referring to family planning agency Planned Parenthood that holds two clinics in the state that provide abortions.

“They promote abortions. They don’t just give them. They promote abortions,” McMaster continued, in reference to Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood in St. Louis, MO, May 30, 2019. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

In August 2017, McMaster signed a bill that effectively banned state agencies like Medicaid, the federal health insurance program for the poor and disabled, from funding medical institutions that are associated with performing abortions.

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

After a federal district court overruled the bill in 2018, it was reinstalled in February this year. This time, sponsors of the bill tried to tie it to South Carolina’s criminal code. Which means abortion would be considered a criminal offense.

“We’re not saying right now today we’re advocating some sheriff go arrest a doctor,” Republican Senator Richard Cash of Powdersville said. But he added that if the bill is upheld in its current version, “if you’re a doctor and abortions have been re-criminalized and you kill a baby, well you’ve just committed murder.”

But, again, the bill was overruled for the second time by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, October 28, by which it reaffirmed the former injunction.

Meanwhile, according to The Post and Courier, Planned Parenthood crowed in a statement:

“Patients in South Carolina are already suffering from a chronic shortage of health care providers, especially those that will accept patients who use Medicaid as their insurance. For 40 years, Planned Parenthood has been a vital health care safety net for those patients in South Carolina.”

A spokesman for McMaster’s office said the governor intends to “fight this lawsuit all the way to the Supreme Court if that’s what it takes to make sure South Carolina taxpayer dollars no longer subsidize abortion clinics,” The Post and Courier reported.