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COLUMBIA, SC- Planned Parenthood South Atlantic (PPSAT) along with one of its patients filed suit today on behalf of their patients in U.S. District Court. The plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction seeks to prevent the enforcement of Governor McMaster’s Executive Order blocking Medicaid patients from accessing preventive health care services at Planned Parenthood in South Carolina. The plaintiffs are represented by Planned Parenthood Federation of America and by Malissa Burnette and Kathleen McDaniel of Burnette Shutt & McDaniel, PA.

The courts have made it clear that people who use Medicaid as their insurance have the right to visit to any qualified provider that accepts Medicaid. Federal law prohibits states from interfering with Medicaid patients’ access to the qualified provider of their choice.

South Carolina is already suffering from a chronic shortage of healthcare providers, especially those that will accept patients who use Medicaid as their insurance. For 40 years Planned Parenthood has been a vital healthcare safety net for those patients in South Carolina. The two Planned Parenthood health centers in the state- located in Columbia and Charleston- are in areas designated by the federal government as having a provider shortage.

Statement from Jenny Black, CEO of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic

“The women and men who come to Planned Parenthood for healthcare aren’t doing so to make a political statement. They choose to come to us because we are the provider they know and trust for compassionate, quality, affordable care.

In 2016, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic served more than 4,500 South Carolinians, providing lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, STI testing and treatment including HIV, and other preventive care.

The executive order has forced PPSAT to stop providing basic preventative health services to the Medicaid patients who rely on us each year for family planning and other preventive health care. Every day that this continues, both PPSAT and our patients are irreparably harmed.

We recognized it was critical to seek legal action to ensure that our patients who use Medicaid as their primary form of insurance can continue to seek care at Planned Parenthood, their trusted health care provider.

Many of our low-income patients choose PPSAT for their healthcare needs because we can accommodate the unique scheduling constraints caused by inflexible work schedules, childcare obligations, and transportation challenges. To ensure that these patients have ready access to family planning services and other preventive care, PPSAT offers extended hours and flexible scheduling - including offering our full range of services to walk-in patients - as well as offering same-day appointments.

The bottom line is that it is critical to public health for the state to maintain the fullest possible network of qualified providers to ensure patients get the care they need.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic is committed to standing up for our patients, and we trust the court will stand with South Carolinians who are most in need of access to affordable healthcare.”