A former abortion clinic in northern Florida is being transformed into a ministry that will provide medical care and temporary shelter to the homeless.
The Ocala Women’s Center was run by notorious Florida abortionist James Scott Pendergraft IV, who currently is facing charges for six drug-related offenses. According to Operation Rescue, Pendergraft has a long record of injuring patients and performing illegal, late-term abortions.
It is unclear exactly when the Ocala abortion clinic closed, but the Interfaith Emergency Service bought the building on June 30, The Ocala Star Banner reports.
The building that once saw so much death and destruction will now be a place of hope for people in the Marion County, Florida area. Interfaith plans to use the building to provide health care, temporary shelter, food, clothing and other support to the community’s homeless people, according to the report.
The ministry’s Executive Director Karla Grimsley said they constantly see medical problems among homeless clients and hope to provide them with basic health care. She said they are looking for local doctors and dentists who are willing to donate their time to treat the homeless.
“This clinic will have a huge impact on the health and well-being of the community,” Grimsley said.
The building once was home to Florida’s most notorious abortionist, James Pendergraft. His reason for closing the Ocala facility could have to do with the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration’s plans to revoke his abortion clinics’ licenses in the state. The state agency made the plans after Pendergraft was charged with the drug-related offenses in South Carolina last fall, according to the report.
Pendergraft operates three other abortion facilities in Orlando and the central Florida region, but the state agency’s actions could result in these closing as well, The Orlando Sentinel’s Margie Menzel reported.
It appears unlikely that Pendergraft will re-open his Ocala abortion practice at a new location, according to the most recent news report.
Pendergraft had his medical license suspended four times after botching women’s abortions, performing illegal late-term abortions and giving out drugs without a license. In 2011, a Florida court ordered Pendergraft to pay $36 million to the survivor of a failed abortion after she she suffered massive injuries from the abortion, LifeNews reported.
The plaintiff’s mother, Carol Howard, paid $1,300 to have an abortion in November 2001 when she was 22 weeks pregnant, near the point of viability. But Howard’s baby daughter lived through the abortion. As a result, 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, according to pro-life advocate Kelly Clinger, who had multiple abortions done by Pendergraft years ago, 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.
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In 2001, he and an associate, Michael Spielvogel, also were convicted of falsely accusing a Marion County official of threatening them, and spent seven months in jail.
In the most recent incident, Pendergraft was pulled over for a traffic violation on Oct. 5, 2015, in South Carolina. He was arrested after sheriff’s deputies found illegal narcotics and bloody surgical instruments in his car that he allegedly used to perform illegal abortions in South Carolina, Operation Rescue reports.
Soon after the arrest, Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright told a press conference: “We got a guy and a girl [allegedly Pendergraft’s wife] 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.”
Operation Rescue said Pendergraft does not appear to be facing any charges related to unlawful abortions even though he does not have a medical license in South Carolina.