by the Refuse & Resist! Reproductive Freedom Task Force
What happened to Dr. Pendergraft?
Dr. James Pendergraft, a high-profile African-American abortion provider, has provided abortions for 12 years and specializes in high risk pregnancies with patients coming to him from around the country. He has 5 full service women's health facilities in Florida. On February 1, 2001, Dr. Pendergraft (Dr. P) was convicted of Federal extortion in Ocala Florida, and sentenced to 46 months in Federal prison, 2 years probation upon his release, and $25,000 fine. Dr. P's case is a part of a new front of attacks on abortion providers -- politically motivated criminal prosecutions. In an aggressive anti-abortion campaign, prominent religious leaders, county commissioners, and local FBI worked together in conservative Ocala, Florida to rid Ocala of its only abortion provider, Dr. James Pendergraft. This precedent-setting case has serious and chilling wide spread policy implications for other abortion providers that go beyond the case of Dr. P. (For more info, articles and trial coverage, see Dr. Pendergraft's defense committee website http://www.righttofight.org)
Dr. Pendergraft's motion for bond pending appeal was denied.
During the sentencing, the trial judge Terrell Hodges assumed Dr. P would be allowed to stay out of prison while his appeal was being reviewed, until the prosecution objected. Surprised by his objection, Judge Hodges said he would make a ruling at another time. Several weeks later, Judge Hodges denied Dr. P's motion for bond pending his appeal! An emergency motion was filed in the 11th circuit in Atlanta and asked that a 3 panel judge review and overturn Judge Hodges decision. Only one judge reviewed the motion and denied Dr. P's bond pending appeal. Another emergency appeal was filed asking for a three judge panel, instead a two judge panel was assigned to the appeal, which was composed of one new judge and the same appeals judge who had already denied Dr. P's appeal. Once again, his bond was denied. Usually, a bond pending appeal is denied in cases where the government wants to prevent an illegal business from operating while awaiting review of the case from a higher court, in this case the business that is being prevented is performing abortions.
Dr. Pendergraft reported to the Atlanta Federal Prison Camp on Wednesday, July 25. He has stayed strong throughout this outrageous attack on him and abortion rights, and has vowed to keep all 5 of his clinics open during his absence (many doctors have offered their services to make this possible).
Stand With Our Providers and Fight Back the Attacks on Them!
What you can do:
* Please write Dr. P. He would appreciate hearing words of encouragement and updates from pro-choice supporters.
Federal Prison Camp Atlanta
James S. Pendergraft, IV
Registration # 42979-018
P.O. Box 150160
S.E. Atlanta, GA 30315
The address needs to be exactly as above and the registration number must accompany all correspondence.
* Send urgently needed funds for his appeal:
Right to Fight Defense Committee
c/o Epoc Clinic,
609 Virginia Ave.,
Orlando, Florida 32803
* Organize a fundraiser and/or an informational meeting about Dr. P's case, speakers available.
Without Providers There Is No Choice!
Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!
For more info: Refuse & Resist! 404-239-8054 - firstname.lastname@example.org
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