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LIFE DIGEST: Abortion doctor suspended
Posted on Aug 20, 2010 | by Tom Strode

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ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)--The Florida Board of Medicine has suspended the license of abortion doctor James Pendergraft for the fourth time but will still allow him to resume his practice.

The board, which delivered the one-year suspension Aug. 7, said Pendergraft permitted a female employee to administer narcotics to patients without a license, granted her "free rein" to order drugs in his name though he knew she had abused drugs and prescribed steroids for herself without a medical basis, according to Channel 13, an Orlando television station.

The Department of Health said Pendergraft will be able to resume practicing medicine in the state when he is finished serving his current suspensions simultaneously.

"Unfortunately, in the state of Florida over the past many years, we have not seen the enforcement and the rigor [of] some other states like Iowa, Indiana, (and) Minnesota," said Aaron Liberman, chairman of the Department of Health Management and Informatics at the University of Central Florida.

If Pendergraft were in those states, it is likely he would be unable to regain his license, Liberman said, according to Channel 13.

One of Pendergraft's previous suspensions was for illegal performance of a third-trimester abortion in 2005. Third-trimester abortions are allowed in Florida if they are performed in a hospital and two doctors have certified in writing a woman's life is threatened. Pendergraft violated both rules.

FUNDING BANS PROPOSED -- Pro-lifers in Congress have recently proposed bills to prohibit federal funds from underwriting abortion.

One would prohibit all funding of abortion by the federal government. The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, H.R. 5939, would resolve the challenge pro-life members of Congress often face in renewing a variety of riders, which are amendments attached to annual spending bills and bar funding for abortion under those measures.

"For decades, a patchwork of short-term policies [has] prevented abortion funding in many programs authorized by Congress, but it is time for a single, government-wide permanent protection against taxpayer funding for elective abortion," said Rep. Chris Smith, R.-N.J., the bill's sponsor.

In addition, Sen. Tom Coburn, R.-Okla., introduced a bill Aug. 5 to bar federal funds from being used to pay for abortions under the health-care law enacted in March. The Excluding Abortion Coverage From Health Reform Act, S. 3723, will prohibit taxpayer dollars from funding elective abortions or subsidizing coverage for such abortions. Pro-lifers opposed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) because it subsidizes abortion coverage in health-care plans.

Both proposals face seemingly insurmountable barriers. Smith's bill has 166 cosponsors in the 435-member House. Coburn's bill has 25 cosponsors in the 100-member Senate.
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Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.
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