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Planned Parenthood Funding Takes Center Stage in South Carolina’s Election

Henry McMaster vetoes planned parenthood budget

No matter how many times South Carolina lawmakers try to restore the $16 million Gov. Henry McMaster chopped from the state’s healthcare budget, the Republican governor vowed to just “keep on vetoing it.”

McMaster said he cut the money from the legislature-approved budget in July to make sure not a dime of South Carolina taxpayer money paid for Planned Parenthood abortions.

"This is the center, this is the core of it and that's why I vetoed it. And I'll keep on vetoing it,” McMaster said. “The veto is the most direct way to get the money going to them for family planning services, which in Planned Parenthood land means abortions.”

McMaster also promised to continue stopping state money from flowing into Planned Parenthood until the federal government permitted South Carolina to exempt the organization from the state’s Medicaid provider network.

The South Carolina Legislature reconvenes in September. Restoring the money vetoed by McMaster will be at the top of Democratic lawmakers’ agendas in advance of the November election.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate state Rep. James Smith not only branded McMaster’s veto “a moral outrage,” he called it a classic example of “how this governor cares far more about ideological posturing on divisive issues than he does about the people of South Carolina.”

“He has no interest in the basic needs of our people; he’s all about throwing red meat to his base,” Smith added.

Vicki Ringer, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, told WACH-TV the McMaster healthcare budget veto was nothing but a “political stunt” that would affect more than just women seeking abortions.

“As a result of this political move,” Ringer said, “none of the South Carolinians who rely on Medicaid for their healthcare will be able to access family planning services at any of the state’s 4,000 Medicaid providers.”

The Post and Courier also criticized McMaster’s veto of $16 million from the $8 billion healthcare budget approved by the legislature as politically motivated.

“If you want to reduce the number of abortions performed each year, a logical starting point would be to protect access to birth control and other family planning services,” The Post and Courier editorialized. “But if you’re a politician looking to score points during an election year, common sense doesn’t figure into such equations.”

Planned Parenthood abortions have become a hot election-year issue in the state’s gubernatorial general election after a GOP primary season that featured candidates trying to prove they were more pro-life than the rest of the field.

Thanks to McMaster’s healthcare budget veto, Planned Parenthood abortion services are at the center of the November election.