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South Carolina governor cuts $15 million of abortion funding from state budget

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COLUMBIA, South Carolina, July 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – South Carolina Republican Gov. Henry McMaster used his line-item veto last week to strip more than $15 million in tax dollars to abortionists out of the latest state budget, citing his campaign promise to do so.

McMaster vetoed a total of $15,779,259 from the $8 billion budget that had been meant for “family planning” providers that were involved in abortions, CBS News reports, including about $100,000 that would have gone to Planned Parenthood facilities.

Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion vendor. The group kills over 300,000 babies annually in the United States.

“I have stated many times I am opposed to what Planned Parenthood is doing. And the veto I have is the most direct way,” McMaster declared in a news conference.

“There are a variety of agencies, clinics, and medical entities in South Carolina that receive taxpayer funding to offer important women's health and family planning services without offering abortions,” he explained. “That’s why last year I directed state agencies to stop providing state or local funds to abortion clinics.”

“I also directed the Department of Health and Human Services to submit a waiver request to the federal government, making South Carolina one of only two states in the nation (along with Texas) to take this action,” the pro-life governor added.

“There is concern [about the cuts affecting groups other than Planned Parenthood],” McMaster said at a news conference, “but the big concern is Planned Parenthood using taxpayer money for abortions. I'm going to veto that every chance I get.”

The vetoes amount to playing a “terrible political football game,” Planned Parenthood South Atlantic public affairs director Vicki Ringer complained. “There will be an increase in unwanted pregnancies, an increase in preventable cancers and an increase in abortions, which the governor says he wants to stop.”

In South Carolina, legitimate providers of women’s health services dramatically outnumber facilities involved in abortion. As of 2015, federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics outnumbered Planned Parenthood facilities 268 to two (Planned Parenthood still has only two). Today, Planned Parenthood still has just two abortion centers in the Palmetto state.

Pro-life experts say that measures such as defunding Planned Parenthood do indeed decrease abortions, despite the insistence of abortion advocates like Ringer.

Fertility and unintended pregnancy rates were “fairly stable” for the past 35 years while the abortion rate dropped 50 percent from its peak in 1980, Charlotte Lozier Institute scholar and Ave Maria University professor Dr. Michael New told LifeSiteNews last year. “As such, it is difficult to argue that increased contraception use is responsible for America's long term abortion decline.” But “there is a substantial body of academic research which shows that a range of protective pro-life laws reduce abortion rates.”

President Donald Trump signed legislation in April 2017 allowing states to deny federal family planning funds to Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups. This April, Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam also called on his state to seek a federal waiver to defund providers involved in abortion.

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