Florida Abortion Business Owner Jailed for Extortion Won’t Lose License
by Steven Ertelt
April 9, 2006
Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — The Florida state medical board has dropped its case against an abortion practitioner jailed for extortion. It won’t pursue revoking James Pendergraft’s medical license, following a judge’s recommendation.
The Florida Board of Medicine dropped the case on Saturday, and the decision pleased Marti Mackenzie, Pendergraft’s spokeswoman.
Mackenzie told the Associated Press, "If that’s what they did … they did the right thing."
Pendergraft owns the EPOC abortion business and was convicted in 2001 over a lawsuit he and an associate filed against Marion County.
The suit claimed the abortion business wasn’t given proper protection from threats of violence but county officials told the court the lawsuit was part of an extortion plot in which the county would have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to Pendergraft.
Pendergraft received a sentence of three years and 10 months in prison but was released after just seven months when the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the conviction.
He admitted in federal court that he obstructed justice by supporting a business associate he knew was lying and hoped to get money from local officials by claiming pro-life advocates were threatening him and his business.
Last year, the pro-life Liberty Counsel law firm filed two complaints against Pendergraft’s abortion facility. Filed for a woman named Angele, the say it refused to call emergency personnel to help Angele or her baby, born on the second day of a two-day abortion procedure.
They charged Harry Perper, the abortion practitioner who began the abortion process, and Pendergraft with violating state law.
Liberty Counsel attorneys say a doctor should have been present during the second day of the abortion procedure. They say abortion business staff failed to provide adequate care and they cite unsanitary conditions at the facility.