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City Okays $325,000 For Abortion Doctor

By Editorial Staff
Published May 21, 1996

Abortion Doctor Agrees To Drop Suit Vs. Orlando

By Sherri M. Owens of The Sentinel Staff

The city of Orlando on Monday agreed to pay Dr. James Scott Pendergraft $325,000 to settle his lawsuit, but the victory did not come easily for the gynecologist who performs abortions.

In fact, it almost didn’t happen.

Led by Orlando Mayor Glenda Hood, the council initially voted to reject the settlement, though doing so would likely have cost the city even more in a court battle.

But after a 30-minute recess and private meeting with their lawyers, council members unanimously reversed their decision. Council member Frankee Hellinger abstained.

“We felt we needed a clear understanding of our options,” said Hood, explaining the unusual decision to recess in the middle of a council meeting.

During the recess, however, Pendergraft considered withdrawing his offer, his spokesperson, Marti Mackenzie, said. Mackenzie was in New York but spoke with the doctor by phone.

“This is not a time for celebration,” she said after learning of the council’s vote in her client’s favor. “It’s a time for acceptance of something that’s in the best interest of the community.”

The settlement includes payment for all damages including loss of past and future income, loss of good will to Pendergraft’s business and attorney’s fees, said Jeff Slater, lead outside counsel for the city. In exchange, Pendergraft drops his lawsuit.

The doctor sued the city in December, demanding lost wages and legal fees of as much as $1 million. The city had tried to keep him from opening his Orlando Women’s Center, which performs gynecological procedures including second-trimester abortions.

City officials had argued that second-trimester recovery time would be 90 minutes or more, making Pendergraft’s facility a clinic in an area zoned for medical offices and homes.

But Pendergraft’s attorneys argued that the recovery time for second-trimester abortions is 50 minutes, making his facility an office and within city zoning laws.

In Monday’s closed-door meeting with attorneys, the council was reminded of the strongly worded 51-page order issued by U.S. District Judge Patricia Fawsett. It rejected the city’s recovery-time argument and gave Pendergraft permission to perform later-term abortions at his facility, about a half-mile from City Hall at 1103 Lucerne Terrace.

“The (Orlando City) Council had reached the decision that it did not want Dr. Pendergraft to open his facility . . . before the hearing began and then searched for a method to deny (his) applications,” Fawsett wrote in her April 18 ruling. “The city denied his application without the substantial justification required by law.”

It was largely because of that ruling that the council changed its vote.

“I’m still not in favor of that operation at that location or anywhere in the city of Orlando, but I think we have to reconsider in light of that ruling,” council member Sheldon Watson said before the second vote.

Hood said the city was “between a rock and a hard place” and that the decision was a blow to home rule – allowing a community to set its own guidelines.

Had the rejection of the settlement not been overturned, the city would have faced Pendergraft in court early next year, Slater said.

Attorneys for both sides, meanwhile, would have continued to add to their legal fees. “As far as costs and attorney fees,” Slater said, “we may have just seen the tip of the iceberg.”

City staff has been advised to reexamine the land-use ordinances that define medical offices and medical clinics “so we don’t find ourselves in a situation like this in the future,” Hood said.


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Martin Luther: Digitally Remastered 1953 Classic (DVD)

“Here I stand … I can do no other!”

With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.

The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.

Running time: 105 minutes

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Watch a clip from Martin Luther.

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A Revival Account: Asbury 1970 (DVD)

What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?

Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.

Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!

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— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l

Running Time: 40 minutes

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Massacre of Innocence (DVD)

Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion

This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.

Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.

“… an extraordinary statement … a powerfully articulate presentation about what abortion really means, and why a great and moral nation like the United States must not allow the slaughter to continue.”
— Congressman Robert K. Dornan

Running time: 85 minutes

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Go Stand Speak (DVD)

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?

Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?

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?

These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.

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The Beast of Revelation IdentifiedThe Beast of Revelation: Identified (DVD)

Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?

Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!

Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.

Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)

Running Time: 145 minutes

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