Parents: Woman tricked into abortion struggling
Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 9:40 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 9:40 a.m.
TAMPA, Fla. — The parents of a Tampa woman who says she was tricked by her boyfriend into taking a pill that led to a miscarriage spoke out Monday, saying no woman should ever have to endure such a "horrific act."
James and Rosa Lee told a news conference their 26-year-old daughter Remee is struggling after losing her 6-week-old embryo, but is holding up. Remee Lee is not speaking to the news media about the case.
Remee Lee's ex-boyfriend, John Andrew Welden, 28, was indicted last week by a federal grand jury on charges of product tampering and first-degree murder. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of the murder charge.
"It's a terrible thing," James Lee said, adding that he hoped Welden would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. He did not elaborate.
The Lees also have filed a civil suit against Welden, alleging emotional distress. Attorney Gil Sanchez said he would postpone that suit until the criminal charges are resolved.
Prosecutors are pursuing the murder charge against Welden under a rarely used federal statute known as the "Protection of Unborn Children Act."
Florida is one of eight states requiring that a fetus be viable for homicide charges to be filed at the state level, according to Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee. Twenty-seven states allow criminal charges to be brought when harm is inflicted at any stage of an embryo or fetus's development, Johnson said.
"We hope and strongly encourage that members of the Florida State House and Senate pass a 'Remee Lee Law' criminalizing the type of actions inflicted against Renee and her unborn baby," Sanchez said.
According to court documents, Lee and Welden met in mid-2012 and became romantically involved. Lee became pregnant in February 2013 and was elated about her pregnancy when she told Welden the news. Welden, however, urged Lee not to have the baby.
In late March, the records say, Lee went to the office of Welden's father, Dr. Stephen Welden, for an exam.
Court records say John Andrew Welden told Lee afterward that his father had discovered she had a bacterial infection and had prescribed an antibiotic to treat her.
Lee and her attorney — along with federal prosecutors — say Welden forged his father's signature on a prescription for Cytotec and relabeled the pill bottle as "Amoxicillin."
Cytotec, known also as misoprostol, is a drug used to induce labor. It is typically taken in conjunction with another drug, mifepristone, to cause an abortion during the first nine weeks of pregnancy. Mifepristone, which is typically taken first, causes an embryo to detach from the uterine wall. Misoprostol is typically taken two days later to cause contractions and push the embryo out of the uterus.
Lee was six weeks and five days pregnant.
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