A woman tricked into having a miscarriage is fighting for changes to state law. Remee Lee and her attorney Gil Sanchez are joining forces with State Representative Larry Ahern (R-Seminole) and State Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland).
They held a press conference in Tampa Wednesday to announce the filing of the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act" in Florida.
"I know I'm not alone. I was deprived of my choice and my baby," Lee said.
Lee was seven weeks pregnant when her boyfriend John Welden tricked her into taking a pill that he had relabeled as a harmless antibiotic, but was actually a pregnancy-terminating medication.
Lee had a miscarriage.
"Although this has been a devastating time for me and my family, I'm here giving my voice and my support for the passage of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act in Florida," Lee said.
Ahern and Stargel filed the bill in Tallahassee Tuesday. It mirrors the 2004 federal Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which criminalizes the injury or death of an unborn child, as a result of violence, at any stage of development in the womb.
The bill would replace language in current state law with the more broad term "unborn child."
"Right now, current law says 'quick child.' I don't think a baby lost at five months of gestation or three months of gestation is any less devastating," Stargel said.
The proposal, however, could open the door to a new round of debate over when life actually begins. But it's sponsors say this is about a sick crime, not abortion.
"This is about a felony, a criminal act that is probably one of the most heinous crimes that could happen to a pregnant woman," said Ahern.
Most states have adopted the federal standards, but not Florida. Weldon made a plea deal to charges of product tampering and mail fraud, avoiding a murder charge.
"I'm here for myself and for all of other victims to spread awareness and to help prevent this from happening to other women," Lee said.
She plans to testify in front of lawmakers in Tallahassee. They could take up the bill when the new session starts in March.
Welden took a plea deal recently on charges of product tampering and mail fraud.
State lawmakers trying to pass the new bill say prosecutors would have had a better chance at murder charges had Florida already adopted federal standards.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
Didn't find what you were looking for?