A Florida judge has dismissed a request by a Florida abortion practitioner looking to get out of paying a the survivor of a failed abortion $36 million in damages for injuries she suffered from the abortion.
James Pendergraft is the owner of five abortion facilities in Florida and a late-term clinic in D.C. “specializing” in abortions past the 24th week of pregnancy. He has had his medical license suspended four times for botched abortions, illegal late-term abortions, and dispensing drugs without a license. He has also faced legal and disciplinary actions for making up false threats from pro-life advocates and “reporting” them to authorities.
Pendergraft found himself in an Orange County courthouse facing a lawsuit from the daughter of Carol Howard, who wants a lifetime of medical care after she was born alive after a botched abortion began. The plaintiff is a 10-year-old girl with massive birth defects who survived the abortion. The plaintiff’s mother, Carol Howard, paid $1300 to have an abortion in November 2001 when she was 22 weeks pregnant.
The plan was for the daughter, identified as JH in court documents according to a pro-life advocate familiar with the case, to be delivered stillborn into a toilet. After 12 hours of labor, the mother left the abortion clinic very upset and went to a nearby hospital because the process was taking too long. There, she gave birth to a girl weighing 1 lb 6 oz, who is now 10-years-old. She has cerebral palsy, no function on the left side of her body, strokes and brain damage, physical, emotional and cognitive delays, lung damage, chronic lung disease and seizure disorders.
Pendergraft was found liable for damages and Pendergraft was ordered to pay Howard $18,255,000 in punitive damages, $18,000,000 in compensatory damages and over $400,000 in court costs.
Now, an Orange Circuit judge has denied Pendergraft a new trial in the medical malpractice case. The Orlando Sentinel also indicates Judge John Marshall Kest denied Pendrgraft’s attorney’s motion to set aside the verdicts for damages — meaning he and his abortion business must pay out the damages awarded earlier.
The woman’s attorney, Jennifer Gentry Fernandez, told the newspaper that the damages are appropriate because the girl born after the failed abortion is “never going to get any better.” She said that, had Pendergraft done an ultrasound and determine the baby was past the point of viability, the abortion would never have been started.
“It was a tragically unbelievable situation,” Fernandez said Monday, adding that the abortion practitioner does not have malpractice insurance to cover the damages — meaning he will have to fork over the money himself, which could close his abortion business. “Hopefully, it won’t be too much longer until we can get recovery for her.”
Pendergraft’s lawyer, according to the newspaper, blamed Howard and said she was responsible for the abortion’s failure and would not say whether Pendergraft will appeal this decision.
Kelly Clinger, who had multiple abortions done by Pendergraft years ago, told LifeNews that she feels some redemption that Pendergraft has to compensate the victim for the damages she received as a result of the abortion.
“I must admit that, in a way, this feels like a glimpse of redemption for me and like a small beam of light piercing through the darkness,” Clinger says. “Pendergraft is a convicted felon with no medical license who is still making massive amounts of money off of child killing. I am praying that this will be the thing that brings down the empire of death that Pendergraft has built.”
Pendergraft, who runs the Orlando Women’s Center abortion business, has had his medical license repeatedly revoked for botched abortions, illegal late-term abortions, and dispensing drugs without a license. In January, he was exposed by the pro-life group Operation Rescue as reportedly setting up shop in a secret late-term abortion business somewhere in or near the nation’s capital where late-term abortions are being only partially completed.
He also opened a new web site, LateTermAbortion.net, that describes in detail how his new office is soliciting women nationwide and from other countries for “intracardiac injection of medication into the fetal heart,” which kills the unborn child. Pendergraft describes how his new abortion center uses long spinal needles to pierce the pregnant abdomen and inject the hearts of late-term unborn babies in the womb with poison or air.
Pendergraft makes it clear on the web site that he does not complete the abortion process at his new location but discharges patients 15 minutes after the injection and leaves them to go to their own personal physician or find a medical center nearby or in their home state to remove the body of the deceased unborn child. Without treatment women in this condition can die.
Operation Rescue president Troy Newman informed LifeNews.com of the new Pendergraft center, which he says is purposefully designed to evade Florida law and compel the participation of legitimate physicians and medical staff in the abortion process. He notes how the web site describes how Pendergraft will discuss the injection over the phone with women and how they will be met privately and escorted to the secret location for the baby’s fatal injection.
“While Pendergraft attempts to convince the reader this is about security, it is more likely about evading law enforcement, because this dangerous process is highly unethical and likely illegal since he holds no active medical license whatsoever,” Newman said.
Pendergraft faced previous suspensions, one as recently as January, 2010, for botched legal abortions and illegal late-term abortions, and dispensing drugs without a license.
The first suspension was the result of a complaint filed April 14, 2008, that states Pendergraft illegally prescribed controlled substances without proper DEA licensing. The board also said Pendergraft committed medical malpractice in a botched abortion of a 19-week-old unborn child in February 2006.
The botched abortion saw Pendergraft inadequately dilating a patient’s cervix for a D&E abortion. He then ruptured her uterus and shoved the unborn child’s body into the abdominal cavity.
The mother was rushed to the hospital where she received an emergency hysterectomy along with the removal of the dead unborn child, who was missing an arm after the abortion attempt. OR indicates the arm was later found at Pendergraft’s EPOC abortion clinic. The pro-life group maintains that Pendergraft’s not reporting that he had removed the arm caused a delay in her care at the hospital as surgeons futilely attempted to locate the missing appendage.
While on suspension, his abortion centers continue to operate with other abortion practitioners, at least one of which has had his own problems with the law.