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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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The United States of America 2.0: The Great Reset (Book)

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Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
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In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.

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Frank Schaeffer Will You Please Shut Up! (Book)

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A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism

Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner

The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.

Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.

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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.

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5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
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9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
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Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.

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