By: Sharon Aron Baron
Along University Drive in Tamarac, driver’s may have seen the men holding signs protesting a Tamarac clinic that performs abortions.
One of the protesters who is part of a independent group from St Malachy’s Catholic Church said he is protesting a clinic located at 7777 N. University Drive because not only does the clinic perform abortions, but he was told that the doctor is unlicensed because he once performed a botched abortion.
But is this true?
Looking further, obstetrician Dr Michael J. Benjamin, who operates the clinic, was in the news in 2011. While he does perform abortions at the clinic, there is no evidence of disciplinary action by the Florida Medical Board for a botched abortion.
However, Benjamin did receive disciplinary action along with a temporary suspension on his license from an incident back in 2009. That’s when a 12 year-old girl along with her mother and her mother’s adult boyfriend came to Benjamin for an abortion for the girl. They lived in the Gainesville area and found Benjamin’s name through an abortion hotline.
The girl’s mother told Benjamin she did not know of her daughter’s condition until the girl was 24 weeks pregnant and had not taken her for prenatal care, state records show.
According to a Sun Sentinel article, Benjamin told state investigators he was satisfied there was no child abuse after talking to the girl and her mother for 30 minutes. He is a father of four, a grandfather of four and takes seriously his role in detecting child abuse, he said in a letter to the medical board submitted by his lawyer.
But the state complaint says Benjamin’s notes in the case say he talked to the girl and mother only for only 6 to 8 minutes before the abortion. The state also said he failed to report the mother for possible neglect in supervising the girl.
The girl’s pregnancy was not reported to the authorities until later by her regular pediatrician. Gainesville area detectives later linked the pregnancy to the mother’s boyfriend, who is now serving a 15-year sentence for sexual battery.
In 2011, the medical board voted to temporarily suspend Benjamin’s license, pay a $10,000 fine and have to perform community service.
On June 18, 2014, the board issued a reprimand against his license. Benjamin is currently on probation for two years, which according to state records, he is free to operate his medical practice. He is also required to comply with indirect supervision by a board certified doctor in the field, not necessarily on the same premises.