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Action limits abortion options

By Editorial Staff
Published August 18, 2006

Women might have to travel farther — doctor plans to appeal state’s suspension

By Robyn Shelton, Sentinel Medical Writer

Women seeking an abortion in Central Florida should not have difficulty finding a doctor, although they may have to travel farther now that the state has stopped two Orlando clinics from performing abortions indefinitely.

The two offices, owned by Dr. James Pendergraft, were open Thursday for other services. But the state has suspended Pendergraft’s medical license and barred all five of his clinics in Florida from providing abortions on the grounds that he illegally carried out two third-trimester abortions in 2004 and 2005. The procedures under investigation occurred at his Orlando sites.

Pendergraft’s spokeswoman said he denies any wrongdoing and plans to appeal the state’s actions.

As a result of the restrictions, other abortion clinics in Central Florida reported getting more calls Thursday.

Tammy Sobieski, who owns the Womancare clinics in Orlando and Daytona Beach, said some women might be inconvenienced but that abortion services are still readily available. There are at least five remaining abortion providers in the area, according to data on a state Web site.

“Women with first- or early second-trimester pregnancies are pretty well covered in Central Florida,” said Sobieski, whose clinics perform abortions up to about 16 weeks’ gestation. “It’s women who are later in their pregnancies that may have to travel outside of Central Florida” to get the service.

Many abortion providers do not treat women beyond 18 weeks’ gestation, though there are a limited number of clinics in Florida — including in West Palm Beach, Tampa and Jacksonville — that offer abortions up to 24 weeks’ gestation.

The vast majority of abortions reported to the state in 2004 occurred in the first trimester, according to data from the Florida Department of Health.

The department counts a total of 91,710 abortions statewide in 2004 — 82,782 of them involving fetuses 12 weeks and younger. Another 8,918 abortions were performed when fetuses were at 13 to 24 weeks’ gestation. Ten abortions were done in the third trimester at 25 weeks and over.

Of those 10 late-term abortions, four were done in Orange County, according to the state, which does not provide specifics on where the procedures were carried out.

In its actions against Pendergraft, the state claims that the doctor failed to get a second physician’s opinion, as required by law, before performing an abortion on a woman who was 28 weeks pregnant in July 2005. In a 2004 incident, the state claims Pendergraft calculated the age of a woman’s fetus at 22 weeks but it was really between 25 and 27 weeks’ gestation.

Third-trimester abortions are legal in Florida when a woman’s life or health is in danger, but state law requires that they be performed in a hospital unless the procedure is urgently needed and two doctors “certify in writing” that the woman is at risk. According to state documents, Pendergraft carried out the third-trimester abortions without meeting these requirements.

His spokeswoman, Marti Mackenzie, said the woman’s life was in danger in 2005 and that Pendergraft disputes the age estimation of the fetus in the 2004 incident. She characterized the state’s actions as another in a “series of onslaughts” targeting Pendergraft.


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The Silent Scream (DVD) Eight Languages

“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

Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.

The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.

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The Four Keys to the Millennium (Book)

Foundations in Biblical Eschatology

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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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Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?

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