Executive order to stop abortion funding defends life of unborn babies
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Last week, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) signed an executive order to stop public funds from flowing to the abortion industry, including Planned Parenthood.

The order communicates a powerful message about the values of the people of South Carolina. Right up front, it cites the state’s “strong culture and longstanding tradition of protecting and defending the life and liberty of the unborn.”

Planned Parenthood alone violently ends the lives of more than 320,000 unborn children a year. They do not do any mammograms and nationally they are not a significant provider of prenatal care, cancer treatment, HIV tests, or other kinds of primary care. However, they do account for more than 35 percent of the national market for abortion. In that regard, they are peerless.


Meanwhile, federally supported healthcare entities outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities by an average of more than 20 to one nationwide, and by a whopping 134 to one in South Carolina. These centers provide comprehensive primary and preventative care for women and families and don’t do abortions. They give many women the chance to have their basic healthcare needs met at a one-stop location.

Gov. McMaster recognized this by making Planned Parenthood funding available to these comprehensive healthcare alternatives instead. He’s also directed state agencies to create a public, user-friendly list of every one of these alternatives within a 25-mile radius of an abortion facility so that women can be empowered with real choices that meet a full range of health needs.

Another very important part of the Governor’s executive order directs the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to request waivers from the Trump administration so that the state can also stop Medicaid funding from going to Planned Parenthood. The Obama administration claimed that states could not do this, so it’s important that the Trump administration takes swift action to affirm the right of states to determine who can best serve Medicaid patients.  

This should not be left to the courts, which are divided. Earlier this year a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the state of Texas could not end Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funding, a decision the state Attorney General’s office is appealing. Two weeks ago, though, the 8th circuit Court of Appeals reversed a similar lower court ruling that prevented Arkansas from cutting off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood.

Decisive action by the Trump administration would settle the matter and put an end to further legal squabbles. We know President Trump is committed to the promises he has made to the pro-life movement, the promises on which he was elected, including redirecting Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding to community health centers. Elections have consequences. Obama-era policies that favored the abortion industry should not be allowed to remain standing.

Granting states the freedom to prioritize Medicaid funds toward life-affirming care to better serve their own citizens would be consistent with action taken by Congress and the White House earlier this year. The pro-life community rejoiced when President Trump signed a bill, H.J. Res. 43, that allowed states to redirect tax dollars away from abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood, overturning a rule President Obama issued shortly before leaving the White House that forbade it.

This bill was a significant pro-life victory in President Trump’s first 100 days in office. However, it only applies to funds administered through the federal Title X family planning program — not to Medicaid, the largest source of the more than half a billion dollars a year in taxpayer funding Planned Parenthood receives nationally. The administration should not only grant Governor McMaster’s Medicaid waiver request, but immediately offer the same Medicaid flexibility to all other states as well.

Abortion is not healthcare McMaster’s executive order expresses a clear understanding that when taxpayers fund Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses through their hard-earned dollars, they are forced to be complicit in the taking of innocent human life. We urge the administration to set the entire country free to follow South Carolina and Gov. Henry McMaster’s example, as swiftly as possible.

Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of Susan B. Anthony List, a national pro-life group with more than 465,000 members nationwide.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.