GOP governor cuts health care budget to prevent Planned Parenthood funding

GOP governor cuts health care budget to prevent Planned Parenthood funding
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South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) is eliminating part of the state's health care budget to make sure no funding goes to abortion providers. 

The State reported on Friday that McMaster vetoed nearly $16 million in health care services — a move that came with the goal of defunding abortion clinics such as Planned Parenthood. 

"Taxpayer dollars must not directly or indirectly subsidize abortion providers like Planned Parenthood," McMaster told The State. "There are a variety of agencies, clinics and medical entities in South Carolina that receive taxpayer funding [that] offer important women's health and family-planning services without performing abortions."

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The State notes that McMaster's veto makes good on a campaign promise, but critics say that the measure won't prevent abortions in South Carolina. 

GOP lawmakers have criticized McMaster's move, saying that only $100,000 of the state's health care budget would go to Planned Parenthood, according to The Associated Press.

Other Republicans wanted McMaster to cut nearly twice as much: $34 million from the $8 billion budget. But McMaster rejected that argument, adding that eliminating that much funding would leave 700,000 women and children without prescriptions through Medicaid.

"The veto that I have is the most direct way to get the money that is going to them for family planning services which in Planned Parenthood land means abortions," McMaster told the AP.

Planned Parenthood slammed McMaster's decision in a statement as a "political stunt that will have very real implications for South Carolina’s women and families."

"Let’s be clear: in an effort to prevent South Carolinians from accessing reproductive healthcare services at Planned Parenthood, he is rejecting all federal family planning Medicaid dollars, regardless of the provider," the statement read. "As a result of this political move, 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 AP notes that lawmakers could override McMaster's veto through a two-thirds vote.