Trump administration to consider South Carolina proposal to defund Planned Parenthood

Trump administration to consider South Carolina proposal to defund Planned Parenthood
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The Trump administration is considering a proposal submitted by South Carolina that would cut abortion providers from the state’s Medicaid program.

South Carolina is now the third state to make such a request, the latest move in the GOP’s fight to defund Planned Parenthood in the Trump era.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is already reviewing similar proposals from Texas and Tennessee.

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The South Carolina proposal, called “Transitioning to Preconception Care,” would prohibit Medicaid beneficiaries from using their benefits at facilities that offer abortions. The administration will decide whether to approve the request following a public comment period that began Friday and ends Oct. 7.

While federal funds aren't permitted to go toward abortions, Republicans and anti-abortion groups argue that any money that goes to groups like Planned Parenthood indirectly supports the procedure.

South Carolina has two Planned Parenthood clinics, which also provide birth control, HIV testing and cancer screenings.

While the Obama administration blocked states from cutting Planned Parenthood and abortion providers from Medicaid programs, the Trump administration has signaled a willingness to approve those proposals.

The Trump administration in January rescinded Obama-era guidance that warned states against ending Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood and abortion providers. The administration said at the time that rescinding the guidance gave states the power to decide what is best for their Medicaid programs.

South Carolina’s request follows an executive order issued by Gov. Henry McMaster (R) in July that banned abortion providers from the state’s Medicaid program.

A U.S. district judge has temporarily blocked the order from taking effect pending the outcome of a lawsuit challenging the executive order.

McMaster has long been a foe of Planned Parenthood, blocking nearly $16 million in funding for family planning services to stop a small fraction of that from going to the organization.