Man Sent To Prison For Fooling His Girlfriend Into Taking An Abortion Drug

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By Stephanie Allen-Gobert

John Andrew Welden was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison on Monday for tricking his girlfriend into ingesting an abortion inducing drug last year. Welden, a Florida native accepted a plea deal in September after giving his 27- year old girlfriend, Remee Jo Lee, the pill Cytotec (misoprostol) to induce an abortion. The two had met at a strip club in early 2013 and began a relationship although Welden was already in a long term relationship with another woman.

“I wanted this baby more than anything, not because it was Andrew’s, but it was my baby as well,” Lee told ABC News. When Jo Lee discovered that she was pregnant, she told Welden that she wanted to continue the pregnancy, but Welden suggested that she abort.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Welden had expressed concerns about raising a child with a woman that he did not plan to marry. The report also outlines that Welden suffers from bipolar disorder and suggests that his condition may have contributed to his mental state. In March of last year, Welden allegedly forged the signature of his father, an obstetrician, to obtain the drug and relabeled the bottle Amoxcillin, an antibiotic. He then told Lee that his father advised that she had an infection and that she should take the antibiotics he provided.

Shortly after Lee ingested one of the pills, she experienced cramping and went to the hospital. She miscarried the seven week baby. Welden was arrested in May and charged under the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which carries a mandatory life sentence without parole. Prosecutors on the case, later dropped the charges, and it was changed to mail fraud and product tampering, as he had received the prescription by mail.

U.S. District Judge Richard Lazzary was to sentence Welden in December, but decided to postpone the decision as he wished to hear expert testimony on the potency of the drug, Cytotec. On Monday, Judge Lazzary heard testimony both for and against Welden. Some advised the court that Welden had begun studying the bible with his father since the incident,and other urged the court to ensure that justice prevails. Welden himself took the stand, expressing remorse for his actions. “I wish with all my heart that I could take it back and I could do the impossible and turn back time and undo everything,” Welden said. “But I unfortunately can’t.”

Judge Lazzary believed the evidence supported the drug caused Lee to lose the child, and stated that the woman had the constitutional right to choose to carry the baby to term. The judge stated, “You, Mr. Welden, deprived her of that in the most cowardly of ways I can think.”  He then sentenced Welden to 13 years and eight months in prison, stating that Welden’s case must serve as an example to others.

Leaving the courthouse, Lee showed reporters a framed picture that contained the ultrasound of the seven week old child. “This is my baby,” she said, noting that she had named her unborn child Memphis Remington Lee.


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