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'Basically, We Got an Illegal Baby Killer'

Fort Lauderdale Women's Center (Google Images)

Fort Lauderdale Women's Center, an abortion facility in South Florida, continues to operate despite the fact that its license was terminated by Florida's Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA) effective March 27, 2018. Broward Right to Life, which maintains a daily presence at the abortion center, reported to AHCA that the facility has performed at least 34 abortions since the license was revoked.

Florida abortionist James Scott Pendergraft IV, the owner of Fort Lauderdale Women's Center, had his license to operate a medical facility revoked as a result of his drug convictions last year. This resulted from his arrest during a traffic stop in 2015 in Spartanburg, in which he was caught conducting an illegal abortion business out of his vehicle and in possession of illegal drugs.

Pendergraft pled guilty to 10 drug counts, including possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, possession or distribution of prescription drugs without a prescription and manufacturing or possession of Schedule I & II substances. According to Florida law, criminal arrests are disqualifying acts, meaning that even an arrest without a conviction disqualifies the person from employment that requires licensure.

Upon Pendergraft's arrest on Oct. 5, 2015, Sheriff Chuck Wright stated in a press conference, "We got a guy and a girl early in the week that was a traveling abortionist. He traveled around the state of South Carolina without a medical license, with drugs and with medical tools, performing in-home abortions. So basically, we got an illegal baby killer."

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Pendergraft was sentenced on each charge for varying amounts of jail time up to five years, but those sentences were suspended for time served. He was placed on five years of probation and fined a total of $26,342.25. Pendergraft was not charged with illegal abortions or practicing medicine without a license even though he has never held a medical license in South Carolina.

On May 5, 2017, the Florida Department of Health revoked the facility licenses of four abortion facilities owned by Pendergraft. Those facilities are:

  • EPOC Clinic, LLC in Orlando
  • Lauderdale Women's Center, LLC in Ft. Lauderdale
  • Orlando Women's Center, LLC in Orlando
  • Ocala Women's Center, LLC

The EPOC Clinic and the Ocala Women's Center have since closed. The Orlando Women's Center's name has been changed to Center of Orlando for Women and the license transferred to Denise Williams, the mother of two of Pendergraft's children.

Perdergraft appealed the action and lost with the administrative action affirmed on March 6, 2018, and the mandate from the Fifth District Appeals Court issued on March 26, 2018.

Pendergraft's abortion clinics have a notorious history. For example, on April 2, 2005, 911 Emergency received a frantic call from a woman claiming her friend had given birth to a live baby at Pendergraft's EPOC clinic in Orlando. When the mother alerted medical staff that her 22-week-old baby was born alive, the staff refused to help her. The young mother held the child and the amniotic sac in her hands as she called a friend at a nearby hotel who had traveled with her to Orlando from out of state. An ambulance was dispatched, but the clinic workers assured the EMTs that it was a hysterical woman and that they had everything under control. The EMTs then left without entering the clinic. Photos showed a perfectly formed baby boy who died from premature birth, confirming part of the mother's story. Liberty Counsel represented baby Rowan's mother. The photographs of baby Rowan posted on the Liberty Counsel website were taken by Mat Staver at the morgue.

"It is absurd that the Ft. Lauderdale Women's Center is continuing to harm innocent babies and women without a license," said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. "We call upon the state attorney general and the local law enforcement to stop Pendergraft's unlicensed abortion center."

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