Tampa, FL — A Florida man who admitted to tricking his pregnant girlfriend into taking an abortion pill is facing a murder charge.
John Andrew Welden, whose father Stephen Welden is a practicing OB/GYN, admitted to forging his father’s signature on a prescription for Cytotec, or misoprostol, a drug used to induce labor. He relabeled the bottle as “Amoxicillin,” an antibiotic and gave it to his girlfriend, 26-year-old Remee Lee.
“Whenever a woman is robbed of her ability to give birth and have a child, I don’t think there’s any greater harm you can cause somebody,” said Lee’s attorney, Gil Sanchez. “She’s devastated. She still can’t believe this happened to her.”
Welden met Lee in mid-2012, and the two began dating. They broke up briefly but got back together long enough for Lee to become pregnant in February 2013. While she was excited about the baby, Welden tried to convince her to have an abortion. Lee said she would keep the baby and raise it without Welden’s support. She even showed her sonogram picture off to her co-workers at Chipotle.
“She was so excited,” Sanchez said.
In late March, Lee went to Dr. Stephen Welden’s office for an exam. Dr. Welden discovered that Lee had a bacterial infection and prescribed Amoxicillin to treat it. It was then that Welden forged his father’s signature on a prescription for Cytotec and relabeled it as Amoxicillin. He gave the prescription to Lee, who was six weeks and five days pregnant.
Lee began to bleed at work the next day and went to the hospital, where she found out she had been given a pill that is used in medically induced abortions. Court records show that Welden told Lee that he had given her Cytotec. Lee is now suing Welden for battery, intentional infliction for emotional harm, and punitive damages.
“Doc Welden,” as he is called on his website, has been helping infertile couples get pregnant for over three decades, and is not facing any charges.
John Andrew Welden was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on charges of product tampering and first-degree murder. He faces up to life in prison if convicted on the murder charge. In state court, a 6-week-old fetus wouldn’t be considered viable, but in federal court, it’s a different matter.
The Unborn Victims of Violence of 2004 defines an “unborn child” as a “member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.” If an unborn child is killed during a federal crime — like, say, product tampering — it’s considered murder.
Welden was denied bail Wednesday after a prosecutor described the 28-year-old as a flight risk due to the serious nature of the charges. Assistant US Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow told US Magistrate Anthony Porcelli that the case was “one of the most shocking and premeditated cases I’ve seen.”
Do you think John Andrew Welden should get life in prison?