(Reuters) - A Florida man has pleaded guilty to switching his pregnant girlfriend’s antibiotic with a drug known to cause abortion.
John Andrew Welden, 28, pleaded guilty in Tampa federal court on Monday to reduced charges of tampering with a consumer product resulting in bodily injury and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
The plea agreement does not require proof that the prescription drug Cytotec actually caused Remee Jo Lee to miscarry about seven weeks into her pregnancy, but Welden admitted he tricked her into taking the drug because he hoped it would end the pregnancy.
Cytotec, known generically as misoprostol, is prescribed to prevent stomach ulcers and carries a warning that it should not be used during pregnancy because it can cause abortion, birth defects and premature birth.
Welden’s father is a doctor and Welden admitted that he forged his father’s signature on a prescription used to obtain Cytotec from a mail-order pharmacy. He said he switched the label to make it appear the medication was an antibiotic, and told Lee that his father had prescribed it for her to treat an infection. She miscarried a couple of days later.
Lee told CNN on Tuesday that she was elated when she learned she was pregnant and that Welden had tried to persuade her to have an abortion.
“It’s just been the most devastating loss,” Lee told CNN. “The horror I go through every day, there’s no escaping it, no turning it off.”
Under terms of a plea deal, Welden faces up to 13 years and eight months in prison when he is sentenced on December 5, court documents said.
The agreement spared him from a potential sentence of life in prison on the original charge of murder under the Protection of Unborn Children Act. Welden was indicted in May and remains under house arrest.
Reporting by Jane Sutton; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz