SC Narrowly Avoids 34 Million Dollar Budget Cut to Family Planning Services
by Megan Plassmeyer on Apr 13, 2018
This week, the South Carolina Senate debated the state budget, specifically addressing four amendments that would have been extremely harmful for women across the state.
Unlike Gov. McMaster’s executive order issued last summer that was designed to block state agencies from paying state or local taxpayer money to doctor’s or medical practices that provide abortions, recent proposals would have rejected family planning funding altogether. Suggested amendments would have refused $34 million in federal Medicaid dollars, which also serves to reimburse women for birth control and cancer related treatments. There is already a long standing federal ban on using Medicaid dollars to pay for abortions outside of the cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother.
Proposed budget amendments included provisions to:
- Remove rape and incest exception for abortion coverage in the state health plan,
- Refuse federal family planning dollars and prohibit state family planning dollars from going to organizations that perform abortions (rape, incest, life of the mother exception),
- Refuse federal family planning dollars and prohibit state family planning dollars from going to organizations that perform abortions (only life of the mother exception), and
- Require DHEC to investigate organizations that receive family planning dollars to identify if they perform abortions other than in cases where the life of the mother is at risk. If the organization does perform abortions they would no longer qualify for the family planning dollars.
After hours of debate, South Carolina narrowly escaped a $34 million dollar loss, which would have hurt the women and families who are working hard to maintain financial stability. Senator Margie Bright Matthews and Senator Brad Hutto led the efforts against these harmful amendments.
A recent study by the Center for Reproductive Rights and Ibis Reproductive Health found that South Carolina has one of the highest number of abortion restrictions in the country. We cannot afford to enact further restrictions or barriers.