Floridians seem to be in the news for all the wrong reasons lately, and this story is no exception.
28-year-old John Welden was sentenced to almost 14 years in prison today after he was found guilty of tricking his ex-girlfriend into taking the abortion pill. Welden, the son of prominent Tampa Bay-area fertility doctor Stephen Welden, obtained the pill from his father’s office.
The ex-girlfriend involved is Remee Jo Lee. Lee became pregnant with the couple’s baby in February of 2013.
“He never even used condoms with me,” Lee said. “I was well aware of what could happen.”
Lee told the court Welden was distraught when she told him she was pregnant.
“Oh God, I want to die. Are you serious?” she recalls him saying. “Remee, please don’t do this, I beg you. I am destroyed.”
Lee soon found out Welden had another girlfriend on the side. He feared the other girlfriend would be furious with him if she found out about Lee’s pregnancy. Even without the support of Welden, Lee still wanted to carry out her pregnancy and raise the child. She went to the office of Welden’s father for a prenatal exam in March. Welden, a biomedical student, worked at his father’s office as well.
“He worked for his father, at his father's clinics. So it wouldn't be strange or uncustomary, you know, to call me personally,” Lee said. “He said I had a mild infection. I just needed to clear it up, that it would not hurt the baby.”
But what Lee was told was a prescription of the antibiotic amoxicillin was actually a prescription of Cyotec, better known as the abortion pill. Welden faked an amoxicillin label and placed it on the prescription, leaving Lee blissfully ignorant of what she was ingesting. Hours after taking the first pill, she began experiencing intense stomach pain. She went to the hospital.
At the hospital, doctors told her she’d lost her baby. After hospital doctors inspected her prescription, they told Lee what had gone wrong.
“I was hoping that this was some sort of horrible mistake,” Lee said. “He told me what the medication was, and it was Cytotec.”
Prior to Welden being handed his 14-year sentence, Lee told the court what she hoped for the man who robbed her of her pregnancy.
“I would have had my kid and I would have been fine with that,” she said. “…I would have told my parents it was someone else's. I wouldn't have bothered you for money. I wouldn't have bothered you at all….I wanted this baby more than anything. Not because it was Andrew's, but it was my baby as well.
“The only thing I want now,” she concluded, “is for the court to show Andrew the same amount of mercy he showed me in my pregnancy.”