Ben Johnson


Democratic Party chair: Bill to punish men who slip women abortion pills is ‘senseless’ and ‘wrong’

Ben Johnson

TALLAHASSEE, FL, May 14, 2014 ( – Democratic Party Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has branded a bill to punish men who trick their girlfriends into aborting against their will, or who otherwise kill a woman's unborn child, “senseless” and “extreme.”

Wasserman Schultz blasted two pro-life measures that Florida Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign into law.

The state legislature passed the Offenses Against Unborn Children bill after Remee Jo Lee's story went national last year.

John Andrew Welden tricked Lee, his girlfriend, into taking a bottle of Cytotec (misoprostol) that he had falsely labeled as “Amoxicillin.” She miscarried their child, which she desperately wanted and had already named, last Easter. But Lee was surprised to learn that, because of an oversight in Florida law, Welden could not be charged with harming their unborn baby. Prosecutors could only charge him with violating the federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act because he was accused of breaking federal laws against product tampering.

Florida is one of 14 states that provide no legal remedy for mothers whose unborn children are killed before the point of viability.

That's when Lee and her family threw their support behind the Offenses Against Unborn Children Act, which treats a crime that harms an unborn child as a separate offense from any damage inflicted on the mother.

"I'm still here but a big part of me is missing," Lee told the House Judicial Committee in March. "I miss my baby every single day."

Her father, Edward Lee, had said at a press conference, "We do not want this to happen to any other daughter."

The bill passed the legislature in April – but Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a U.S. congresswoman from Florida, said the bill is an outrage.

“Florida Republican lawmakers have wasted taxpayers time and money by passing these extreme bills that further limit women’s reproductive rights,” she told Tallahassee NPR station WSFU-FM.

“It is senseless and it’s wrong,” she added.

She and Florida State Representative Lori Berman, D-Lantana, criticized the Remee Lee bill and another measure, which forbids abortionists from aborting any child who would be viable outside the womb. Critics say this could roll abortion back to 20 weeks statewide.

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Women's rights advocates warn that Lee is one of a growing number of women threatened by the increasing availability of abortion-inducing drugs. In March, police in New York arrested a Crown Heights man for forcibly inserting misoprostol into his girlfriend's womb.

Gov. Scott is expected to sign both bills into law.

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