By Editorial Staff
Published December 11, 1998
Says agencies failing to protect abortion clinics
By Bridget Hall, Staff Writer, Ocala Star-Banner
OCALA — Dr. James Pendergraft filed suit Thursday against the city of Ocala and Marion County for refusing to provide off-duty, uniformed officers to stand guard at his abortion clinic.
The lawsuit also names Chief Morrey Deen of the Ocala Police Department, former Marion County Sheriff Ken Ergle, and Sheriff Ed Dean.
Both law enforcement agencies routinely provide off-duty officers to area businesses requesting security, and the businesses pay the officers for their overtime. But OPD and the Sheriff’s Office have denied requests for officers to be assigned to Ocala Women’s Center, depriving him and his patients of their due process and equal protection rights, Pendergraft said.
“The reason I’m doing this lawsuit is because we’re not getting any protection from the government bodies to protect a woman’s constitutional right to come and have a termination (of pregnancy) performed,” he said at a press conference in Orlando.
The presence of a uniformed officer with the power to arrest is crucial, Pendergraft said, because protesters gather daily at the clinic to harass staff and patients, sometimes obstructing the driveway to the clinic. Pendergraft said some of those protesters have copied license plate numbers of patients and staff, and videotaped and shouted at people entering the clinic.
“Private security (guards) cannot enforce any law. Their thing is they have to call the police,” he said. “By the time the police get there, whatever they’re doing is over with.”
Before Pendergraft opened the Ocala Women’s Center in July, he requested off- duty OPD officers for Tuesdays and Saturdays, when the clinic would be performing abortions. The clinic only offers pregnancy testing, pap smears and pelvic and breast exams during the other days of the week.
Deen denied the request, saying in a letter to Pendergraft that the department had no “legal obligation” to provide off-duty officers.
In an interview with the Star-Banner in July, Deputy Chief Andy Krietemeyer added that the department did not want to assign officers to the clinic because “a significant segment of the population believes that it’s the wrong thing to do.”
Deen said he could not comment on the case until the city attorney had received and reviewed the lawsuit.
Pendergraft also requested an off-duty deputy from the Sheriff’s Office, but Ergle said he could not provide deputies because of an arrangement with OPD that deputies would not work security details within the city limits. Dean has also refused Pendergraft’s requests.
Sheriff’s officials would not comment on the lawsuit.
Because local law enforcement has failed to provide security for the clinic, Pendergraft said, anti-abortion protesters have been free to harass doctors, staff and patients. His suit charges that Marion County Right to Life President Ed Martin, abortion protester Meredith T. Raney Jr., and 11other unnamed defendants have violated the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which prohibits protesters from intimidating or blocking people entering a clinic.
“You have five or 10 (protesters) on each side of the building — it’s like a fortress,” Pendergraft said. “No matter who comes and who goes, they know about it. That’s not the way it should be.”
Martin could not be reached for comment Thursday night and Raney declined
Abortion foe Jacki Robinson, who has protested outside the clinic, said she has never seen Martin or any other protester videotape patients, copy down license plate numbers or otherwise intimidate doctors, staff or patients.
“The protesters that I have stood with and seen and ministered to outside of the abortuary have been a loving and kind group,” she said. “They have not to my knowledge harassed anyone.”
In his suit, Pendergraft is asking for a “buffer zone” that would prevent Martin, Raney and the 11 unnamed defendants from copying identifying information, filming or photographing doctors, staff or patients, or gathering to protest within 1,500 feet of the clinic.
He is also asking that protesters be prohibited from displaying signs showing aborted fetuses or pushing carriages with ketchup-covered dolls. He is asking that protesters’ signs carry a disclaimer saying abortion is allowed under state and federal law and is sanctioned as safe by the American Medical Association.
Robinson, who carries a sign that reads “Abortion Kills Children,” said adding Pendergraft’s disclaimer would violate her free speech rights.
“Then I would have to carry another sign saying not all laws are moral,” she said.
The court case could take months or years before a judgment is made, so next week Pendergraft will file a motion for a temporary buffer zone, which could go into effect in as little as a month. If his petition for a permanent buffer is granted, he said, he will need off-duty police officers to enforce it. By suing OPD and the Sheriff’s Office in the same suit, he hopes to force them to do so.
Pendergraft said he filed the suit in the United States District Court in Orlando so it would not be tainted by local politics.
“We know the people up there are all in bed with each other, some way, somehow,” he said.
Pendergraft, who also owns two clinics in Orlando and one in Tampa, said he will file a similar suit next week asking for buffer zones around his Orlando clinics. That suit will not name the Orlando Police Department as a defendant because Pendergraft had no trouble hiring those officers for security details, he said.
He has not requested off-duty officers for his Tampa clinic, which just opened in October, but said he plans to do so.
Forerunner - Home » Florida's Murder Industry »
Your comments are welcome!
Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
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.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the Free Study Guide!
Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
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
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)