TALLAHASSEE, FL, June 12, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Remee Lee says that after her boyfriend tricked her into taking an abortion-inducing drug, she was “devastated for being robbed of the opportunity to be a mother.” Now, she is supporting a Florida state law to “make sure this never happens again to any other woman.”
She and her family have publicly urged the state legislature to pass the Offenses Against Unborn Children bill. It would enable the state to prosecute anyone who kills an unborn child before the point of viability.
The measure, which was introduced by Republican State Rep. Larry Ahern of St. Petersburg, has stalled in Tallahassee for the last three years.
“We hope and strongly encourage that members of the Florida House and Senate pass a Remee Lee law criminalizing the types of actions inflicted against Remee and her unborn baby,” said Lee's attorney, Gil Sanchez.
When the 26-year-old became pregnant in February, she was overjoyed, but her boyfriend, John Andrew Welden, felt differently.
“Every woman dreams of becoming a mom,” she said. “I was never going to do anything but go full-term with it, and he did not want me to.”
Police say that Welden confessed that he lied to Remee and told her that she had an infection, giving her a bottle of Cytotec (misoprostol) that he had falsely labeled as “Amoxicillin.” He reportedly obtained the pills – which Lee referred to as his “weapon of choice” – by forging the signature of his father, an OB-GYN who treats infertile couples.
After taking a pill, she miscarried at a local hospital, on Easter Sunday.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony Porcelli charged Welden last month with one count of first-degree murder for the death of his child, as well as product tampering with reckless disregard for Remee's safety.
Officers say they recorded Welden's confession at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office – but had he not been accused of the federal charge of product tampering, prosecutors could not have charged him with murder under the federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act, nor under any Florida statute. Currently, Florida is one of 14 states that provide no legal remedy for mothers whose unborn children are killed before the point of viability.
Lee still looks back at the loss of her nearly 7-week child in disbelief. “It was our baby,” she said. She had even picked out a name, Memphis Remington.
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Welden is currently being held without bail and considered a flight risk. If convicted, Welden will face life in prison. But the current loophole in the law could let others go free.
That would only add insult to injury, say Lee's family members. “I'm feeling very sad,” said Remee's mother, Rosa, “devastated and concerned for my daughter.”
“I can only sympathize with [Lee] and her family and what they're going through,” Rep. Ahern told the Tampa Bay Times. He has until next month to introduce a revised bill in Remee or Memphis' honor.
“This type of law should be in place not just in Florida but in all states,” Sanchez said.
Remee has said through Sanchez that she will lobby for the bill during the trial and speak out publicly if it is not passed before a verdict is reached.
Her father, Edward Lee, said it is a matter of justice. “We want the full weight of the law administered against the individual that caused this tragedy. We do not want this to happen to any other daughter.”
He and Rosa have suspended their $15,000 lawsuit against Welden to focus on the criminal trial.
Pro-life advocates warn that with misoprostol readily available and Plan B about to be sold over-the-counter, more cases like Remee's may not long in coming.