On the heels of signing a viability-related abortion bill into law on June 13, Governor Rick Scott of Florida has just signed a bill that will more harshly punish criminals who cause pregnant mothers to lose their unborn children at any stage of development. The law follows the tragic case of Tampa native Remee Lee and her unborn child, Memphis.
Lee’s child was murdered by her former boyfriend, Andrew Welden after he tricked Remee into taking pills that he told her were antibiotics. They actually constituted a lethal dose of Cytotec, a drug whose purpose is to prevent stomach ulcers, but which causes an abortion if taken while pregnant. Weldon obtained the drugs by forging his physician-father’s signature on a prescription.
Remee lost her child because of Weldon’s actions, and began a crusade to help prevent other mothers from becoming victims of similar crimes. At the time, she said: There’s just no words for the horror I wake up with every day that this is my reality. There’s no escaping it, there’s no turning it of. Remee told ABC about her legal efforts on behalf of women like her, and their children, last September.
The new Florida law is designed to ensure that crimes like Weldon’s are strictly punished on a state level. The law makes it a crime to cause the death of a [wanted] fetus regardless of how far along the pregnancy is. This will allow criminals like Weldon to be prosecuted under Florida law rather than the federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act, since before now Florida only had laws protecting victims who would have been viable at the time of death.The law takes effect on October 1.