Aug. 26 (UPI) -- South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster issued an executive order Friday, blocking public funding for physicians or medical practices affiliated with abortion clinics.
The order directed state agencies to stop providing state or local funds through grants, contracts, state-administered federal funds or other forms to physicians or medical practices that affiliate with abortion clinics.
"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," McMaster said in a statement. "Taxpayer dollars must not directly or indirectly subsidize abortion providers like Planned Parenthood."
McMaster's order also directed the South Carolina Medicaid agency to request the federal government exclude abortion clinics from the state's Medicaid provider network.
Only three clinics in the state offer elective abortions and only one, in Columbia is a Planned Parenthood clinic, the Post and Courier reported.
The three clinics don't receive money directly from the state or through federal family-planning dollars, but all three are reimbursed by Medicaid for abortions performed due to rape, incest or threat to the mother's life.
Vicki Ringer, Planned Parenthood's director of public affairs, told the State that she thinks the order is a "political stunt."
"Planned Parenthood does not receive Title X funding or any other grants through the state of South Carolina," Ringer said. "We do serve patients who rely on Medicaid for their insurance, and provide basic healthcare to men and women who participate in the state health insurance plan."
An order signed by President Donald Trump in April allowed states to block abortion clinics from receiving funds through federal family planning grants.
The grants can be used to pay for birth control, cancer screenings and tests and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, but can't be used for abortions.
Planned Parenthood did not explicitly threaten to legally combat the order, but Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood Federation of America said the group would "leave no stone unturned" to protect what she described as access to healthcare.
A federal judge in Texas earlier this year blocked a similar attempt to defund Planned Parenthood in that state.