Jay Rogers
Jay Rogers

Recent Posts

The Forerunner

Physician sues city, county, 12/11/1998

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
to comment.

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!

Textile Help

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.

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information

The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

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.)

Click here for more information

Dr. Francis Schaeffer - A Christian Manifesto (DVD)

That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!

Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information

Abortion Clinic 911 Calls (DVD)

Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!

These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.

Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.

Watch these pro-life videos on-line.

“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California

“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter

$4.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information

Why Creeds and Confessions? (Book)

High Quality Paperback — 219 pages

Foundations in Biblical Orthodoxy

Driving down a country road sometime, you might see a church with a sign proudly proclaiming: “No book but the Bible — No creed but Christ.” The problem with this statement is that the word creed (from the Latin: credo) simply means “belief.” All Christians have beliefs, regardless of whether they are written.

Yet a single book containing the actual texts of the most important creeds of the early Church will not often be found. Out of the multitude of works on the evangelical Christian book market today, those dealing with the creeds of the Church are scarce.

Why Creeds and Confessions? provides a foundation of biblical orthodoxy as a defense against the false and truly heretical doctrines advanced by the spirit of this age.

$14.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information

Share |

View CCNow Cart/Checkout
View CCNow Cart/Checkout

Subscribe to
The Forerunner

Have The Forerunner Weblog sent straight to your inbox!

Enter your email address:

The Forerunner Channel on YouTube

Promote Your Page Too

Featured Product
If you like the articles on this website, you may also be interested in:

Featured Articles

Live Seminar!

Real Jesus
The Abortion Matrix DVD: Update

The Abortion Matrix:
Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death

is a 195-minute presentation that traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God has produced. You can order this series on DVD, read the complete script and view clips on-line...
continued ...

View My Stats