Florida Abortion Biz Faces $200,000 in Fines for Not Informing Women of Abortion Risks, Alternatives

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Sep 12, 2022   |   12:20PM   |   Tallahassee, Florida

Florida health officials recently fined an Orlando abortion business nearly $200,000 for violating a state law that requires women to be informed about abortion risks and alternatives at least 24 hours prior to the abortion.

News Service of Florida reports the Orlando Women’s Center, known legally as the Center of Orlando for Women, is challenging the $193,000 fine from the Agency for Health Care Administration, saying it was not aware the 24-hour waiting period law was in effect.

On its website, the abortion business advertises “quick” and “pain free” “one hour abortion pill” procedures that are “99.9 percent completed within 24 hours or less” and basically risk-free. However, abortions are painful for the mother and deadly for her unborn baby, and a recent study found one in 17 women requires hospital treatment after taking abortion pills.

Florida requires a 24-hour waiting period between informed consent and the abortion procedure.

However, because of a legal challenge, the 2015 law did not go into effect until this spring. The law makes sure abortion facilities inform women about abortion risks, fetal development and pregnancy resources and then give women time to think about their options before going through with the abortion.

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In May, state health inspectors said they discovered that the Orlando Women’s Center had done 193 abortions in violation of the law. They fined the abortion business $1,000 for each violation, according to the report.

Now, the abortion business is challenging the fines, saying its staff did not know when the law went into effect.

“The agency regulating abortion clinics could not tell the owner of a clinic the effective date of a major change in the law governing the process of providing an abortion,” it told the Division of Administrative Hearings in the challenge. “More specifically, respondent had heard of the ruling that allowed the 24-hour waiting period to go into effect but could not locate any information about the effective date of the new requirement which mandated a significant change in how abortions are provided in Florida.”

The Orlando Women’s Center and its founder, late-term abortionist James Pendegraft, have a bad reputation. In 2018, the Florida Board of Medicine revoked Pendegraft’s license after Operation Rescue discovered evidence that he was running an illegal home abortion business out of the back of his van in South Carolina, a state where he was not licensed to practice medicine.

In 2019, Pendegraft also was accused of laundering assets to avoid paying a $37 million medical malpractice lawsuit against him and his abortion business for a botched late-term abortion.

Before that, Pendegraft’s license was suspended at least five other times, and he was accused of operating an illegal late-term abortion practice at an unlicensed Maryland facility in 2012. He also pleaded guilty to felony drug charges in 2017 for selling illegal drugs from his van.

Here’s more from Operation Rescue’s investigation:

Based on Pendergraft’s South Carolina arrest, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration revoked the facility licenses of four of Pendergraft’s abortion clinics on March 27, 2018. Those facilities included the Orlando Women Center, EPOC, Ft. Lauderdale Women’s Center, and the Ocala Women’s Center, which had actually closed prior to the facility license revocation.

Out of those clinics, only the EPOC abortion business, located at 609 Virginia Drive, actually closed. This address is central to Pendergraft’s scheme to conceal his control property and assets.

Three other Pendergraft-affiliated abortion facilities, including one not listed in the revocation orders, underwent name changes and their ownerships were transferred to Denise Williams, Pendergraft’s ex-wife and the mother of his two children.

Pro-life investigators believe Pendergraft still may be aborting unborn babies in Florida. According to Operation Rescue, he “has been seen entering his old abortion facilities in Florida despite a revoked license and transferred ownership. If you see him at an abortion facility, please document the incident and contact abortiondocs1@gmail.com.”

The News Service of Florida did not include this background in its report. However, it did mention that two other abortion facilities also are accused of violating the 24-hour waiting period law.

Here’s more from the report:

The two other cases pending at the Division of Administrative Hearings involve Miami-Dade County clinics. One of the cases challenges the Agency for Health Care Administration’s attempt to impose a $41,000 fine against A GYN Diagnostic Center, while the other challenges the agency’s attempt to collect $3,000 from Doctor’s Office for Women, Inc., which does business as Today’s Women Medical Center.

Informed consent and waiting period laws protect women and save unborn babies from abortion. These laws help to ensure that women receive the information to make an informed decision before they make a final decision about aborting their unborn babies. These laws also protect women and girls from being coerced or rushed through an abortion before they have time to think about it.