Undercover sting: Late-term abortionist offers 28-week abortion for $10k, makes up reason
July 12, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Want to abort your 28-week-old unborn child? It’ll cost you only $10,000. And don’t worry, no reason is necessary. The abortionist will simply make one up.
At least, that’s what notorious late-term abortionist James Scott Pendergraft indicated when contacted by a pro-life activist posing as the mother of a girl interested in getting an abortion.
Several undercover calls by Operation Rescue staff made to Pendergraft in the past eight months have revealed more details about the shady, internet-based late-term abortion business that Pendergraft, who is currently serving his fourth career suspension, operates from latetermabortion.net.
(Read Operation Rescue’s complete undercover investigation here).
Pendergraft, who is perhaps best known for being hit with a $37.7 million judgment last year after his negligence left a baby maimed after a botched abortion, is the owner of five Florida abortion clinics, which he continues to operate despite the fact that he has no active medical license in any state. But he also uses latetermabortion.net to recruit women for extremely lucrative late-term abortions that are illegal in his home state.
These abortions are conducted under an arrangement of questionable legality with abortionist Harold O. Alexander in his facility in Maryland, where late-term abortions are legal. Alexander himself has been charged with violations of the Maryland Medical Practice Act, including “sexual boundary” violations, botched abortions, shoddy or non-existent record keeping, and prescribing of Viagra and other drugs to himself and non-patients.
The pro-life organization reports that while the details remain sketchy, it appears that while Pendergraft does the bulk of the work of recruiting the women, the actual abortions are committed by Alexander. For his part, Pendergraft will typically fly up from his Florida home on as little as a day’s notice to be present.
According to Pendergraft’s own website, the abortions are committed by “intra-cardiac injection” – in other words, lethal injection in to the baby’s heart. Operation Rescue also reports that there are indications that in some cases Pendergraft and Alexander will not complete the abortions, but instead simply send the women off to their own physicians or a hospital for the dead baby to be removed, adding to the already significant safety concerns of this type of abortion.
But the shoddy practices of the late-term abortion business don’t end there, as Operation Rescue learned from several undercover phone calls placed to Pendergraft.
On December 7, Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue called the abortionist posing as the mother of a 19-year old college student who had concealed her pregnancy from her parents and wanted to abort a 28-week pregnancy because she broke up with her boyfriend.
According to the recorded conversation, Pendergraft offered to meet Sullenger in the DC area the following day at the cost of $10,000 for a 28-week abortion. When Sullenger expressed shock at the price, he quickly reduced it to $8,500.
Pendergraft also indicated that his would be a “fetal anomaly” abortion, even though he was never told there was anything wrong with the pregnancy. When asked, he admitted he would not be doing the abortion himself and that the entire abortion would be done at the “DC area” clinic.
In another call, on November 8, 2011, Troy Newman posed as the husband of a woman seeking a late-term abortion due to fetal anomaly. During that conversation, Pendergraft instructed Newman to wire $6,000 cash to his personal account at a Bank of America in Florida.
Pendergraft indicated that the abortion-bound couple would be met and escorted to the clandestine late-term intracardiac injection clinic where Pendergraft would see them. He refused to disclose the location of the clinic or the name of the licensed physician who would be doing the procedure until he received electronic confirmation that the wire transfer was safely in his Florida bank account.
In another conversation recorded in June of this year, Pendergraft seemed to put up a pretense of attempting to establish a medical basis for a very late-term abortion. Once the caller indicated that her boyfriend was in jail, Pendergraft discussed her anxiety over the situation as an adequate mental health basis to justify the abortion. He then proceeded to tell the caller the next step in the scheduling process.
“Pendergraft is charging women exorbitant prices for late-term abortions. He says the process is ‘not inexpensive’ but does not list his fees, perhaps because he is more than willing to haggle over the abortion price in order to ensure the customer does not take her business elsewhere,” said Troy Newman. “This is not about helping women. It is about helping his bank account, and making a political statement about late-term abortions at the expense of women’s lives and health. It’s frankly despicable.”
Following their undercover calls, Operation Rescue filed two separate complaints with the Maryland Board of Physicians in December, 2011, against Pendergraft and Alexander, demanding a full investigation.
“We didn’t say anything about our discoveries publicly in order to give the Maryland investigators an opportunity to catch these men red-handed,” said Newman. “We did not want to tip Pendergraft off and have him cover his tracks.”
In the meantime the pro-life organization continued to call Pendergraft from time to time. Recordings of those calls were forwarded to the board as well.
Operation Rescue is encouraging pro-lifers to contact the Maryland Board of Physicians to urge them to take action against Pendergraft and Alexander.
Read the complete Operation Rescue sting here.
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