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Man ordered not to give abortion advice

NEW ORLEANS -- A man accused of running a sham abortion clinic and deceiving women in order to keep them from getting abortions was ordered yesterday to disconnect his phone and stop giving advice.

US District Judge Stanwood Duval granted a preliminary injunction against William A. Graham, who was accused of listing the business phone of his Causeway Center for Women under ''Abortion Services" and making misleading statements aimed at delaying women until it was too late to get legal abortions.

Among other accusations, the lawsuit brought by an abortion rights organization alleges trademark infringement because Graham lists his phone number directly below the listing for the similarly named Causeway Medical Clinic, which has provided abortion services since 1978.

''I still don't see that we've done anything wrong," said Graham, who earns his living through a tax preparation service.

Graham, who represented himself at the hearing, referred to abortion as ''a very controversial procedure."

''It's not a matter of whether we're for or against a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy," he said. ''There's a lot of orchestration going on with those with an agenda."

Suzanne Novak, attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the lawsuit, said the judge's ruling will set a precedent.

The lawsuit accused Graham of pretending to refer women to abortion providers at bargain prices, then telling them their appointments had been postponed. Louisiana law allows abortions only during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.

One plaintiff said Graham told her that if an abortion were ''performed too early, it could be harmful to her health," according to the lawsuit.

Elizabeth Nette of Metairie, La., said Graham deterred her 19-year-old daughter, Mary Schloegel, from getting an abortion.

Nette contacted Graham in January. Graham told her he would set up appointments at a local hospital, but delayed them for six weeks, Nette said.

Schloegel is now eight months pregnant and will have the baby.

''I hope in some way he will be able to stop doing this to young girls," Nette said. ''He's taking part of their lives away."

No date was set for a hearing on whether the judge should make the injunction permanent.

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