By Editorial Staff
Published December 11, 1998
Dr. James Pendergraft Claimed Police Refused To Stop Harassment By Protesters.
By Lynne Bumpus-Hooper of The Sentinel Staff
An abortion clinic owner hoping to end what he described as forces “terrorizing” and “harrassing” his staff and patients filed suit in federal court Thursday asking for protection.
Dr. James Pendergraft owns clinics in Ocala and Orlando, but the legal action focuses only on the Ocala business.
Pendergraft claims the Ocala police chief and Marion County sheriff discriminated against his business when they would not allow him to hire off-duty officers to work security details at his facility.
“The reason we are filing this lawsuit today is because we are not getting any cooperation from governmental authorities to protect women’s rights,” Pendergraft said.
The suit asks for a number of remedies, including assigning federal marshals to guard the clinics. Ocala Police Chief Morrey Dean referred all questions to the city’s attorney, Patrick Gilligan, who said Dean had the right to decide how his officers were used and by whom.
Gilligan said the chief would turn down a request from a topless bar, the Hell’s Angels or the clinic.
“They [the officers) are representing the city of Ocala and he wants to decide how they are deployed,” Gilligan said.
Pendergraft said the issue is how the citizens of Ocala are protected from anti-abortion activists.
In the suit, the doctor claims protesters regularly try to keep women from coming into his clinic.
He points to other tactics, such as copying down license-plate numbers of patients’ and staff members’ cars.
To curb the activists, Pendergraft is asking a federal judge to keep protesters across the street, limit their number to no more than five at a time and restrict protests to twice a week for an hour at a time.
Pendergraft’s attorney, Roy Lucas, said providing protection for abortion clinics in Florida has been more difficult than in other locations.
“There’s a Bible Belt problem here. You’ve got state judges overruling protective injunctions upheld by the Supreme Court,” Lucas said.
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All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
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“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
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With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
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