Emergency Order Closes Florida Abortion Clinics and Suspends Doctor's License

Aug 18, 2006

Orlando, FL - The Florida Department of Health has shut down abortion clinics in Orlando, Tampa, Ocala and Ft. Lauderdale, and issued an emergency order suspending the medical license of clinic owner James Pendergraft for performing two late-term abortions at one of his Orlando clinics. Performing third-trimester abortions outside of a hospital is a crime in Florida because of the increased risks to the life of the mother.

Pendergraft's license was suspended by an emergency order stating he committed malpractice and showed "a flagrant disregard for the laws of the State of Florida and a willingness to endanger the lives and health of pregnant patients." In one case, Pendergraft charged a woman $12,000 to abort her late-term, unborn baby who had physical deformities, after no physicians at a local hospital would abort the baby. Dr. Pendergraft does not have hospital privileges in Florida. The order also states that Dr. Pendergraft gave the woman drugs that he was not licensed to prescribe.

The emergency order says that in another situation, Pendergraft performed another late-term abortion that was written up at the clinic as a second-trimester abortion. The woman was given medication to take at home to initiate the abortion, but aborted at home. She called the clinic, complaining of pain and bleeding, but they urged her to return there instead of going to the hospital. Instead, she took her dead baby and went to the emergency room for treatment.

Pendergraft was convicted in 2004 of being an accessory in a criminal case involving his business partner. As the emergency order points out, that conviction, coupled with the other illegal actions, clearly demonstrates his disregard for complying with the laws of this country.

Mathew D. Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, stated: "We are glad that the state suspended Dr. Pendergraft's license and shut down his clinics. It isn't surprising, since he has been performing butchery on women for years. We have received complaints about him for a long time. Unfortunately, there are other unscrupulous abortionists in this state and throughout the nation. Abortion clinics are the most under-regulated medical facilities in Florida. Other clinics should also be investigated. Pregnant women need to be told to avoid those places at all cost, and we must also continue to provide mothers with live-saving alternatives like counseling and adoption services. The nation needs to value life and protect our precious unborn children."