Illegal Abortionist Pendergraft Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to 5 Years Probation on Drug Offenses

By Cheryl Sullenger

Spartanburg, SC — Florida abortionist James Scott Pendergraft IV pled guilty to ten drug counts yesterday in a Spartanburg, South Carolina County Court stemming from his arrest during a traffic stop in 2015, in which he was caught conducting an illegal abortion business out of his vehicle and in possession of illegal drugs.

The ten criminal Felony and Misdemeanor counts include Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Marijuana and LSD, Possession and Distribution Prescription Drugs without a Prescription, and Manufacture and Possession of Schedule I & II Substances.

Pendergraft was sentenced on each charge for varying amounts of jail time up to five years, but those sentences were suspended for time served. He was placed on 5 years of probation and fined a total of $26,342.25.

He was also prohibited from ever applying for a medical license in South Carolina.

Pendergraft was not charged with illegal abortions or practicing medicine without a license even though he has never held a medical license in South Carolina.

Upon his arrest on October 5, 2015, Sheriff Chuck Wright stated in a press conference, “We got a guy and a girl 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.”

Pendergraft operates four abortion facilities in Florida, yet his medical license is currently under suspension for the fifth time for substandard abortion practices and failing to pay the Florida Medical Board over $122,000 in fines and fees.

A felony conviction should provide ample grounds for permanent license revocation.

Pendergraft also was hit in 2011 with a malpractice judgement of $11,800,000, which creditors continue to try to collect.

Given his financial woes, paying the fines on his drug convictions may prove a difficult task.

The Florida Department of Health also revoked the facility licenses of Pendergraft’s four abortion facilities on May 5, 2017. Those facilities are:

• EPOC Clinic, LLC in Orlando.
• Ft. Lauderdale Women’s Center, LLC in Ft. Lauderdale.
• Orlando Women’s Center, LLC in Orlando.
• Ocala Women’s Center, LLC, an Ocala abortion facility that closed in 2015.

The Florida Department of Health cited Pendergraft’s arrests as the basis for the facility license revocations. However, those abortion facilities remain open pending an appeal. Pendergraft’s convictions should be enough to shut his businesses down for good, but that determination still lies in the hands of the court.

“Pendergraft truly belongs behind bars. Traditional discipline has never persuaded him to amend his criminal conduct. Even if his license is revoked and his Florida abortion businesses closed, vigilance is ever necessary, lest he take his illegal and dangerous abortions underground once again,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.

Operation Rescue has caught Pendergraft operating outside the law before. In 2012, an undercover investigation found that he was operating an illegal late-term abortion racket at an unlicensed abortion facility in Maryland with the help of abortionist Harold O. Alexander. Alexander’s medical license was temporarily suspended as a result.

Michigan’s “Trunk Abortionist” Has License Suspended, Fined $25,000

By Cheryl Sullenger

Lansing, Michigan – Today, the Michigan Board of Medicine suspended the license of “Trunk Abortionist” Michael Arthur Roth for one year and fined him $25,000 for the “unlawful possession of a controlled substance.”

Lynn Mills of Pro-life Detroit attended the hearing and told Operation Rescue that the suspension was imposed on a unanimous vote. While happy about the suspension and hefty fine, she wished his discipline had included the fact that he had been conducting abortion house calls and was caught transporting the remains of babies he so dangerously aborted in women’s homes.

“It’s not everything I wanted, but I’ll take it,” Mills told Operation Rescue after the hearing.

She is convinced Roth will never be allowed to practice medicine legally in Michigan again. That is because Roth faces trial in November for criminal charges related to a September 2015, traffic accident in which he struck and critically injured a special needs child with his car. When police impounded his vehicle as part of their investigation into the accident, they discovered aborted baby remains along with abortion equipment and drugs he had stolen from his employer, Angel A. Ojeda, an abortionist who operates Eastland Women’s Clinic in Eastpointe.

Roth used the stolen drugs and abortion equipment for the purpose of committing illegal home abortions – something he was fined $15,000 for in 2004, and ordered not to do again.

Roth told authorities that the aborted baby remains found in his trunk were being transported to Ojeda’s abortion business for disposal, as if that somehow excused the illegal transport of human remains or the criminal abortions that produced them.

Unconvinced, police raided Roth’s home in October 2015, and impounded evidence that allowed State Attorney General Bill Schuette to criminally charge Roth in June 2016, on ten counts, including:

• 6 counts of identity theft.
• 3 counts larceny.
• 1 count illegal possession of drugs.

A conviction would be grounds for Roth’s license to be permanently revoked.

Meanwhile, on January 18, 2017, Ojeda, Roth’s former employer, was fined $4,5000 and his medical license was placed on one-year probation for failing to report that he knew Roth was stealing narcotics from his abortion facility.

Roth is no stranger to controversy, or to legal and disciplinary troubles.

In 1988, the New York Times reported that Roth proudly used prenatal diagnoses to conduct sex selection abortions.

“I have no ethical problems with it, absolutely not. I think that abortion should be available on demand,” Roth said, adding, “I haven’t turned anyone down.”

On March 1, 2005, Roth’s wife filed for a protection order against her husband. She indicated because she lived in constant fear of being attacked and injured by Roth, she remained locked in the basement of their home pending their divorce.

Roth was again disciplined in 2012, and fined a mere $2,000 fine for negligence, incompetence, and lack of good moral character, after violating public health code in two abortion procedures, and perforating a woman’s uterus.

“Weak discipline likely contributed to Roth’s delinquency. If the punishment doesn’t hurt, it really is no incentive for an abortionist to amend his ways,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “We congratulate Lynn Mills on her efforts to persuade the authorities to discipline Roth and not let his misdeeds be swept under the rug.”

Mills, who has following Roth’s notorious abortion career since the 1980s, is concerned that since his options are now limited in Michigan, he may attempt to commit illegal abortions in another state.

She believes Roth may be related to Florida abortion Harvey Craig Roth, who graduated from the University of Michigan Medical Center in June 1991. They younger Roth works for abortion businesses in the Ft. Lauderdale area and has his own history malpractice.

“Florida pro-lifers should be on the lookout for him,” said Mills.

OR’s Special Report “Underground Abortions: Beware of an Alarming New Trend”

Underground Abortions: Beware of Alarming New Trend!


An Operation Rescue Special Report
By Cheryl Sullenger

Las Vegas, NV — He’s known as the “YouTube Abortionist.” A 53-year old career criminal from Las Vegas, Nevada, has been indicted by a grand jury for illegal abortions and sex crimes that should keep him behind bars — where he belongs — for a very long time.

Rick Van Thiel was arrested and jailed in September, 2015, for conducting abortions and other quack medical treatments out of a grimy trailer in his junk-cluttered back yard. He was never formally educated, trained, or licensed in the field of medicine. His background was instead that of a pornographic movie star/maker and inventor of sex toys.

So how did Van Thiel get into the abortion business? He told a news reporter that he learned to do abortions watching videos on

A Clark County grand jury issued 30 felony indictments against Van Thiel in June 2016, including:

• 19 counts of engaging as a medical physician without a license.
• 6 counts of sexual assault resulting in substantial bodily harm.
• 2 counts of sexual assault.
• 2 counts performance of a health care procedure resulting in substantial bodily harm.
• 1 count child abuse, neglect, or endangerment.

In addition, Van Thiel, already a five-time convicted felon who has been barred from gun ownership, faces three federal firearms charges and has been transferred into federal detention. Serving as his own attorney, he has flooded the court with a flurry of motions that are currently delaying his trial. Thankfully, Van Thiel remains in custody.


Van Thiel was an opportunist. Like many charlatans before him, he saw that offering cut-rate abortions and quack “holistic” cures to hookers and other vulnerable women was a viable means to quick cash. He lured customers through several seedy “adult” websites and by word of mouth.

Given the evidence against him and his public jailhouse confession, it is almost assured that Van Thiel will be convicted in both state and federal court and will remain incarcerated for many years to come.

But, however bizarre as it may be, Van Thiel’s criminal abortion enterprise is not an aberration. In fact, it might be the harbinger of a disturbing new trend.

Within weeks of Van Thiel’s apprehension last fall, two others were arrested for conducting illegal underground abortions. Yet these men are not amateurs. Michael Arthur Roth and James Scott Pendergraft IV are known abortionists that worked for or own licensed abortion facilities in two states.

“The Trunk Abortionist”


Michigan’s Michael Roth, known as the “Trunk Abortionist” was arrested after the police made the gruesome discovery while investigating a traffic accident involving Roth. In the trunk of his car there were aborted baby remains along with abortion equipment and drugs. He had been secretly carrying out hazardous abortions at the homes of his customers. Roth and an accomplice had stolen the instruments and drugs from an abortion facility owned by Angel Ojeda, who had employed Roth.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette criminally charged Roth on June 23, 2016, on ten counts, including:

• 6 counts of identity theft.
• 3 counts larceny.
• 1 count illegal possession of drugs.

The Attorney General’s office is also attempting to permanently strip Roth of his medical license.

While not a “career criminal” in the same vein as Van Thiel, that status could well be applied to Roth. He has a history of discipline and other legal troubles, including 2005 accusations made by his wife in a protection order application that she lived locked in the basement of her home in constant fear of assault by Roth.

In 2003, Roth was charged by the state Board of Medicine for conducting home abortions. He was fined, placed on probation, and ordered to cease and desist from conducting abortions outside a licensed facility.

That weak attempt at discipline was obviously inadequate to persuade Roth to amend his ways.

“The Rolling Abortionist”


Last October, the “Rolling Abortionist,” James Scott Pendergraft, IV, was arrested with a female accomplice during a traffic stop in South Carolina. Sheriff’s Deputies discovered abortion instruments caked with blood and bits of tissue from illegal abortions he was conducting up and down the U.S. Interstate Highway system. They also found drugs used to sedate abortion patients and marijuana.

Pendergraft is a well-known Florida abortionist who operates four abortion facilities in Central Florida, but he was never licensed to practice in South Carolina. He is also serving his fifth medical license suspension, and was recently hit with a crushing $37 million malpractice judgment. His financial difficulties coupled with his inability to personally conduct abortions may have sparked his incredibly bad idea to take his abortion business out of state and underground.


Pendergraft was indicted on May 6, 2016, by a Spartanburg County grand jury on ten counts of drug-related charges.

As with Van Thiel and Roth, Pendergraft’s criminal case is pending, but unlike Van Thiel, Roth and Pendergraft both remain free on bond until their cases can be resolved.

But his South Carolina arrest certainly was not the first time Pendergraft had been caught exceeding the bounds of the law. Operation Rescue reported him and his Maryland associate, Harold O. Alexander, for conducting an illicit multi-state late-term abortion scheme out of Alexander’s unlicensed abortion facility in Forestville, Maryland. (Read more about that.) Unfortunately, Pendergraft suffered no real consequences, except for the loss of income that resulted from the forced break-up of his crime ring. Alexander only received a three-month license suspension, but was ordered not to conduct surgical abortions at an unlicensed facility.

Once again, while Pendergraft spent decades immersed in legal troubles, inadequate discipline failed to reform him.

Stil at large

These illegal – and frighteningly dangerous – abortion enterprises seem to be cropping up with alarming frequency. What is known so far of these shadowy underground abortion schemes may just be the tip of the iceberg.

Operation Rescue has disturbing information concerning four additional suspected illicit abortion operations that should be ringing alarm bells across the nation. While information about these horrific schemes have been reported to the authorities, these perpetrators are still at large.

Among the more disturbing of those is a recent credible report made to Operation Rescue of a man conducting illegal home abortions across several states. He is said to target the poorest urban women of color through a word-of-mouth network. Shockingly, there are reports he offers discounts on his illicit services in exchange for sexual favors.

A second troubling secret abortion scheme reported to Operation Rescue in recent weeks involves the apparent unlicensed practice of abortion by an untrained individual somewhere in the eastern half of the U.S.

Further hair-raising details of these suspected crimes must be withheld for now to ensure investigations are not compromised.

HaroldOAlexander-captionedAnother documented illegal abortionist is Pendergraft’s former partner, Harold O. Alexander, who was reported to the Maryland Board of Physicians earlier this year for conducting prohibited late-term surgical abortions at an unlicensed facility late at night to avoid detection, but so far the only action taken by the Board was to place Operation Rescue’s complaint in his hefty disciplinary file. Alexander continues to conduct abortions with the full knowledge of the authorities. Read more about the evidence.

The last suspected illegal abortionist is the notorious Steven Chase Brigham. Beginning last year, Operation Rescue received reports that he may be slipping into some of his American Women’s Services abortion facilities to conduct abortions even though he is not licensed in any state. However, Operation Rescue has so far been unable to independently verify those reports. Those who engage in pro-life outreach at any Brigham facility should be on the alert.

Cause and effect

While abortion supporters may try to blame the rise of predators like Van Thiel and others on pro-life regulations that have resulted in a record number of abortion facilities closures, that argument falls flat. In truth, there are easily accessible abortion facilities in all the areas where illegal abortionists have been reported.

Operation Rescue President Troy Newman explains that this trend stems from the very immoral nature of abortion itself.

“Abortion is an immoral business that attracts unethical practitioners and criminals – the very worst of the worst – to its ranks,” said Newman. “Traditional discipline and efforts at rehabilitation have been completely ineffective. Now we are seeing that these devious abortionists are moving their negligent abortion activities underground. This is all about criminals making quick, untraceable money through the criminal exploitation of vulnerable women and babies. This has nothing to do with a lack of abortion access.”

Newman explained that a strong deterrent is necessary to halt this incredibly dangerous trend before it further propagates.

“Criminals like Van Thiel are aggressively prosecuted while the likes of Roth and Pendergraft have been treated with kid gloves. Prosecutors need to get tough with all these predators. With more abortionists facing discipline and their abortion facilities being closed by state agencies, an example must be made to deter others,” said Newman. “They cannot be treated with any kind of leniency because these are the kind of people that will just exploit that.”

Raising the alarm

Criminal abortion enterprises usually involve unscrupulous and perhaps financially desperate individuals that view illicit, back-alley style abortions as an opportunity for under-the-table financial gain when all avenues of legitimate employment have dried up. By undercutting the competition’s price, they prey on the poor and vulnerable. For the underground abortionists, the welfare of the women they exploit is the least of their concerns.

Operation Rescue emphasizes the extreme dangers that illegal underground abortionists pose to women and babies, and the necessity of ensuring such predators caught quickly and removed from the streets.

“We are raising the alarm, and asking those involved in outreach to pregnant women, particularly in poor areas, to be vigilant of this underground abortion trend and report anything suspicious,” said Newman.

Anyone that has knowledge of a suspected illegal traveling/home abortion scheme is urged to contact Operation Rescue’s office at 316-683-6790, or make a report to the local police.

Florida Abortionist Pendergraft Indicted By South Carolina Grand Jury on Multiple Drug Charges

Activists also witness workers moving office contents out of Pendergraft’s Ocala abortion facility, which is now permanently closed.


By Cheryl Sullenger

Spartanburg County, SC — According to court records, late-term abortionist James Scott Pendergraft IV has been indicted by a grand jury on a total of six drug-related charges, including what appears to be posession of LSD. The “true bill” indictments were recorded on May 6, 2016.

Pendergraft, a notorious late-term abortionist from Florida, was initially arrested on October 5, 2015, during a traffic stop in South Carolina. There, sheriff’s deputies discovered surgical implements that were covered in blood and human tissue from abortions he had illegally performed throughout South Carolina. He was also in the possession of illegal narcotics.

At the time of his arrest last fall, Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright told a press conference, “We got a guy and a girl 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.”

But no charges appear to have been filed related to unlawful abortions even though Pendergraft holds no medical license in South Carolina.

Pendergraft Charges 05062016 by Cheryl Sullenger

“Pendergraft should go to jail for these serious drug charges. We pray Florida will act swiftly to shut down his four remaining abortion facilities in Florida,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “We have prayed for him to get out of the abortion business for years, and maybe a stiff jail sentence will be the thing that finally does it.”

Meanwhile, pro-life activists are reporting that Pendergraft moved out of his Ocala, Florida, abortion facility this week after suspending abortions “until further notice” last fall after his South Carolina arrest.

Ocala Moving Day

Workers were spotted by pro-life activist Ralph Enger carrying out boxes and loading the dumpster with the contents of the former abortion facility. A phone call from the facility confirmed that its closure is permanent.

According to Enger, a receptionist who answered the phone told a caller requesting services in Ocala, “I’m sorry ma’am that place is closed permanently. Ocala will not be operating any more. It is permanently closed. We are no longer in Ocala.”

Enger plans to lead a Thanksgiving prayer service outside the facility on July 2.

Pendergraft is serving the fifth suspension of his Florida medical license. Nevertheless, he continues to operate four abortion facilities in Orlando and the central Florida region.

Operation Rescue documented and reported his illegal late-term abortion operation in Maryland in 2011, which was shut down by the state.

For more on Pendergraft’s long history of abortion abuses, visit his profile at

Maryland Abortionist Involved in Patient Death Caught Operating an Illegal Surgical Abortion Facility

By Cheryl Sullenger

Annapolis, MD — Operation Rescue has uncovered another surgical abortion facility in Maryland currently operating illegitimately without a required facility license. This is the third unlicensed abortion facility uncovered by Operation Rescue in that state this year.

This discovery comes just weeks after the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene chose to ignore evidence submitted by Operation Rescue that Harold O. Alexander continues to unlawfully conduct late-term surgical abortions without a surgical abortion facility license at Integrated Ob/Gyn of Forestville, Maryland.

This week, a recorded telephone conversation with an abortion office worker confirmed that Women’s Health Care Center, located in Bethesda, Maryland, is currently conducting surgical abortions even though there is no evidence that it has ever been licensed to do so.


Women’s Health Care Center does not appear on the most recent lists of licensed surgical abortion facilities released in April and May of 2016. The DHMH website page that lists licensed surgical abortion facilities and links to their inspection reports dating back to 2013, when surgical abortion facilities were first required to be licensed in Maryland. It also is not listed on the DHMH’s current roster of licensed Ambulatory Surgical Centers.

While the Women’s Health Care Center refuses to say how late surgical abortions are done there, women are charged $120 for an examination and consultation, then $250 and up for a surgical abortion.

Records reviewed by Operation Rescue indicate that the Women’s Health Care Center may not have been inspected since 1993, after a patient death, raising questions about the safety of the facility.

Alan J. Ross, who conducts the abortions, is seen in a video on the Women’s Health Care Center website carefully avoiding the word “abortion.” The video refers instead to “pain-free surgical and non-surgical procedures.”

“We provide all services related to gynecological and pregnancy care,” Ross assures viewers in the video.

Ross says he runs facilities in Bethesda and Gaithersburg, but Operation Rescue confirmed that the Gaithersburg site was closed in 2015. All patients are now seen at the Bethesda location.

In 1993, Ross’ medical license was suspended and he was later placed on probation for breaching the standard of care for a 28-year old abortion patient who died after Ross failed to realize she suffered from an ectopic pregnancy that was not removed during the abortion procedure. The pregnancy ruptured her fallopian tube, which resulted in a fatal heart attack.


Maryland Board of Physicians a found that Ross’ overall practice was “deficient.” His medical records were illegible and inadequate. His staff disposed of aborted baby remains in the regular trash. Tests for sexually transmitted diseases were done in Ross’ office and not a lab. The Board found he was not even proficient in performing such tests.

“It is unconscionable that a man like Ross is allowed to operate outside the protective oversight that licensing is supposed to provide,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “Women’s lives and health are being placed at risk every day at his illicit facility, which appears never to have been inspected for over two decades.”

Operation Rescue has submitted evidence of the violation to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Maryland Board of Physicians.

Earlier this year, the Hillcrest Clinic in Baltimore had been caught illegally dumping patient records while it was closed for renovations. Operation Rescue discovered that when it reopened in April 2016, it had not yet been licensed to conduct surgical abortions. As in the case of Integrated Ob/Gyn, a complaint filed against the Hillcrest Clinic pertaining to the operation of an unlicensed abortion facility was also ignored by the DHMH.

“Maryland has a huge illegal abortion problem. We can only hope that the Department of Health takes these complaints more seriously than they did our complaints against the Integrated and Hillcrest abortion businesses,” said Newman. “Why the authorities won’t shut down these illegal and dangerous abortion facilities is a mystery. It is the responsibility of the Department of Health to protect the public and it is high time for them to do their duty.”

Operation Rescue has been examining inspection reports for the eleven licensed surgical abortion facilities in Maryland. Watch for the release of those disturbing findings soon!