South Carolina rules Planned Parenthood to stay a state 'family planning provider'

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Planned Parenthood logo on one of their centers. Credit: Shutterstock

A judge has ruled that Planned Parenthood’s designation as a “family planning provider” for South Carolina’s Medicaid program does not mean that state funding is being used to pay for abortions.

U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis made the ruling in an 18-page decision granting Planned Parenthood a temporary injunction against a July order issued by Republican Gov. Henry McMaster.

In July, McMaster issued the order in an explicit attempt to deprive the controversial abortion provider of state funds.

All three of South Carolina’s abortion facilities--two of which are operated by Planned Parenthood-- were covered by his order, which stated that these locations were “unqualified” to provide family planning services.

Planned Parenthood is currently receiving approximately $82,000 in funding from South Carolina for “family planning services.”

Through a spokesman, McMaster said that he was upset with the ruling and “will continue to do all that he can to make sure no taxpayer dollars either directly or indirectly subsidize abortions in South Carolina.”

Federal law already prohibits the use of taxpayer money for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest.

Despite drops in the number of contraceptive services offered and in total number of patients seen, government funding for Planned Parenthood has increased over the last decade.

According to its 2016-2017 annual report, it received more than $500 million in government funding; making government  - 37 percent - the largest source of its income.

Planned Parenthood claims that state money is not used for abortions, and is only used for family planning services. This is disputed by former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson, who said in a 2011 column that “money received by Planned Parenthood affiliate clinics all went into one pot at the end of the day — it isn’t divvied up and directed to specific services.”

Johnson left Planned Parenthood and now operates the group “And Then There Were None,” which assists abortion workers with leaving the industry.

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