The US state of South Carolina said Friday it is eliminating all state or federal aid to any medical practice linked to clinics practicing abortions.
President Donald Trump had cleared the way for such changes in April, when — in a move applauded by many conservatives — he signed a bill revoking a rule from his predecessor, Barack Obama, that aimed to protect public funding for family-planning clinics.
A statement Friday from South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said he had directed the state health department to seek waivers from the federal government “to allow the agency to exclude abortion clinics from the state’s Medicaid provider network”.
Medicaid provides health care to people with limited financial resources.
“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 performing abortions,” the statement quoted the governor as saying.
He added: “Taxpayer dollars must not directly or indirectly subsidize abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.”
Planned Parenthood operates two clinics in the state, one in Columbia, the capital, and the other in Charleston.
The organisation says it offers contraceptive pills, cancer screenings and other preventive care to 4,000 state residents each year, adding that many will now “suffer”.
“McMaster is throwing patients under the bus for political gain,” a tweet from Vicki Ringer, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman in the state, said.
The national organisation also reacted sharply.
“This is not over,” Planned Parenthood’s chief medical officer, gynecologist Raegan McDonald-Mosley, said.
“We’ll leave no stone unturned to protect our patients’ access to health care.”