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Doctor Seeking Abortion Office Gets Hearing

By Editorial Staff
Published January 17, 1996

The Hearing Officer Will Make A Recommendation To The Orlando City Council On Whether To Open The Office.

By Dan Tracy of The Sentinel Staff

Less than two weeks after arguing in federal court that Orlando should allow him to open a practice where abortions would be performed, a Maryland doctor on Tuesday went to City Hall to make the same claim.

This time, Dr. James Pendergraft made his case to a city-appointed hearing officer, who has up to 45 days to make a recommendation to the Orlando City Council.

Council members can accept or reject the suggestion of attorney David Coffey.

By that time, however, U.S. District Judge Patricia Fawsett may have decided the issue.

She listened Jan. 5 to Pendergraft and the city spar over his proposed business but did not rule because she wanted more information. Those documents are supposed to be in her possession by Friday, although she has not indicated when she will issue a ruling.

At issue in federal court as well as the administrative hearing is Pendergraft’s contention that the city violated his constitutional right to due process by refusing to give him an occupational license.

Last October, Pendergraft bought a colonial-style brick building at 1103 Lucerne Terrace for $250,000, according to Orange County property records.

Shortly before his purchase, Orlando approved, then revoked, a zoning request that would have allowed Pendergraft to open among a cluster of medical offices and residences.

Intending to open Dec. 1, Pendergraft was granted the temporary acceptance by changing the description of his enterprise from a “clinic” to an “office.”

City Hall defines a clinic by saying it offers procedures where patients might require several hours of recovery, as opposed to offices, where clients leave within 60 minutes.

Much of Tuesday’s hearing was dedicated to discussing recovery times, with Pendergraft and a Tampa abortion clinic administrator testifying most patients leave no more than 25 minutes after the procedure.

But the city flew in a physician from Texas who said women who abort during the second trimester usually need one to two hours of observation before leaving.

Under questioning by Pendergraft, Noreen Johnson, an obstetrician and gynecologist, said she stopped performing abortions in 1986 after becoming a Christian.

Pendergraft, a 38-year-old obstetrician and gynecologist, intends to perform second-trimester abortions.

The hearing likely will end today.


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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

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - How Should We Then Live? (DVD)

Special Two-Disc Set!

After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.

Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.

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