A 28-year-old man gave the abortion pill to his six-weeks-pregnant girlfriend without her knowledge, causing her to have an abortion. John Andrew Welden has been charged with first degree murder and product tampering.
His girlfriend, Remee Lee, became pregnancy in February and was “elated” about it, according to the AP. But Welden didn’t want her to have a baby, so he gave her Cytotec — a pill taken in conjunction with mifepristone as part of the abortion pill (also called a medical abortion) — leading her to believe she was taking the antibiotic Amoxicillan. The girlfriend had visited Welden’s father, an OB/GYN, and Welden lied to her and said that his dad had warned him that she had an infection. Then he forged his dad’s signature on a prescription for Cytotec (AKA Misoprostal) and gave it to Lee with a label reading “Amoxicillan.” Trusting her boyfriend was telling her the truth, Lee eventually got abdominal cramps and began bleeding and went to the hospital, only to be told she had been given the abortion pill without her knowledge.
This is a fucked up story for a lot of reasons, not the least of which a woman’s body belongs to her — whether she wants to carry a pregnancy to term or not. If she wants to have a baby, that’s her choice. If she wants to terminate a pregnancy, that’s her choice. Weldon took that choice away from Lee in a way that was as deceitful as it was dangerous.
It’s also disconcerting that Welden is being charged with first degree murder for abortion of an embroyo. According to the AP, the charge is falling under a federal statute called the Protection of Unborn Children Act, which can be used when someone kills an “unborn child” while committing a federal crime. (For example, when someone murders a pregnant woman and her fetus dies, too.) The UK’s Daily Mail explained that a six-week-old embryo is not considered viable by the state of Florida, but is under federal law. Despite the logic of the argument, it makes me uneasy Welden’s girlfriend’s abortion of a six-week-old embryo is being treated as first-degree murder. What kind of precedent will this set, both legally and in people’s minds?
Remee Lee has since sought physical protection from Welden and on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against him claiming battery and emotional distress. I hope the state of Florida throws the book at him.
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[Image of prescription bottle via Shutterstock]