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April 2, 2024

Abortion Pills Enable Predators and Victimize Women

Here’s 24 years of proof.

By Ben Johnson

The Biden administration’s efforts to increase abortion pill “access” primarily benefit the abortion industry, but they will also prove invaluable to one of that industry’s key demographics: abusive husbands and boyfriends. Too little of the feminist movement’s commentary has “centered” their victims: the women and girls deceived or forced to abort their babies against their will.

That injustice hits hard during this season, when the Western world remembers the Saving Victim and celebrates the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. For a moment, let’s pause and remember other victims, whose stories I’ve been telling for more than a decade.

The first of whom suffered on another Easter Sunday: March 31, 2013. Remee Jo Lee, then 26 years old, had worked as an exotic dancer when she met the man she loved: John Andrew Welden. Lee said she had radically transformed her life by the time she found out she was expecting a baby with Welden (who went by “Andrew”). Andrew convinced Lee that a doctor had diagnosed her with an infection and prescribed antibiotics. Lee took one pill and experienced pain so powerful she drove to Tampa General Hospital, where she passed out. Lee awoke in a pool of her own blood to learn she had lost her child on March 31, Easter Sunday.

Lee would learn that Welden, the son of a physician, had forged his father’s name on a prescription for misoprostol. The ulcer medicine has long been used off-label to induce an abortion, either as the second drug in a chemical abortion cocktail with mifepristone or on its own. He then put a label on the bottle saying it contained amoxycillin.

“I was never going to do anything but go full-term with it, and he did not want me to,” Lee revealed.

Florida authorities pressed charges — possibly making history as the first time federal prosecutors used the Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 to indict someone for aborting his child, as my now-FRC colleague Chris Gacek noted at the time.

Then, as now, abortion-minded predators hoped the courts’ pro-abortion bias would save them. Welden’s lawyer, Todd Foster, invoked Roe v. Wade to defend his client’s actions, citing “some tensions” between the Unborn Victims of Violence Act and the 1973 Supreme Court opinion. In the end, Welden signed a plea bargain for 13 years and eight months in prison. Lee and her parents threw their support behind the state’s Offenses Against Unborn Children law, while Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who then chaired the Democratic National Committee, called protecting mothers from abortion-pill domestic violence “senseless” and “extreme.” The measure passed the legislature, and then-Governor Rick Scott ® signed the bill into law in 2014.

“We do not want this to happen to any other daughter,” said Lee’s father, Edward.

Unfortunately, Big Pharma and Big Abortion have teamed up to empower abusers again and again, before and after Lee’s tragic case. 

Just this month, on March 11, police arrested David Coots for allegedly trying to force an unwanted chemical abortion on his mistress. Coots — a 42-year-old nurse in Gig Harbor, Washington — allegedly placed abortion-inducing pills inside his victim’s womb during an abnormally aggressive sexual encounter. The woman realized something was awry when she found two pills and a small piece of foil on toilet paper while sitting on the toilet. “He is facing charges of second-degree assault, third-degree rape, tampering with a witness, and five counts of violation of a court order,” according to Live Action News. His wife, Melissa Coots, who allegedly pressured the victim not to report Mr. Coots to the authorities, has been charged with witness tampering.

The case had certain elements in common with that of Shervaughn Remy, whom New York City police arrested for inserting two Cytotec (misoprostol) tablets into his girlfriend’s vagina on Valentine’s Day 2013. His victim subsequently miscarried her 14-week-old baby. 

Misoprostol has been the “weapon of choice” (as Lee called it) for predators on multiple continents. In the U.K., Ahmed Raofi, a married cab driver born in Afghanistan, tried to convince his pregnant Filipina girlfriend to go to an abortion facility. When she refused, Raofi took her to his apartment to have sex — but then taped her hands, feet, and mouth before forcing four misoprostol tablets into her birth canal. The woman gave birth to an extremely premature child at just 19 weeks gestation, but the newborn died at just 10 minutes of age on April 10, 2013. A British judge sentenced Raofi to six years in prison that September.

The abusers need not use the cloak of intimacy to cover their force. In December 2014, sheriff’s officers in Ulster County, New York, arrested Thomas A. Pfeiffer, then 44, whom they said held his girlfriend in a chokehold while trying to force “her to consume a pill that would cause an abortion.”

Nor are the abusers always angry boyfriends or husbands. Police in Laredo, Texas, arrested Juana Idalia Sanchez, then 49, for trying to force abortion-inducing drugs on her teenage daughter. Last March 30, her 16-year-old daughter revealed that she was pregnant. Sanchez allegedly thrust abortion-inducing drugs into her daughter’s mouth in an attempt to forcibly abort her own grandchild, but the teen spat them out.

Weak legal consequences may encourage men to abuse their wives and unborn children with the abortion pill. In April 2022, Texas lawyer Mason Herring deceived his wife, Catherine, into ingesting an abortion-inducing drug. When she revealed she was pregnant with the couple’s third child, Mason brought her breakfast in bed — but the meal came with glass that contained a cloudy liquid. She said her husband aggressively ordered her to “chug it,” and 30 minutes later, she began bleeding profusely.

“I wanted there to be another explanation,” Catherine Herring said. But eventually she found a discarded pack of Cyrux, a generic form of misoprostol, in the trash. Her husband had attempted to trick her into consuming the abortion-inducing drug seven separate times. Their baby survived, but “she is a special needs child,” said Catherine. “Every day is a struggle for her. This impacts us on a daily basis.” A Houston court sentenced Mason Herring to a mere 180 days jail time, as well as 10 years probation.

“I do not believe that 180 days is justice for attempting to kill your child seven separate times,” said Catherine Herring.

Similar cases stretch as far back as the year the Clinton administration’s FDA approved mifepristone. In 2000, a married doctor based in Lima, Ohio, mixed misoprostol into the drink of his pregnant mistress. Dr. Maynard Muntzing II kept giving his girlfriend, Michelle Baker, coffee — but something about it set off her alarm bells. A secret video camera caught Muntzing placing a powder into her drink, and lab analysis of the thick layer of gooey white medicine lining the bottom of her mug revealed Muntzing had tried to force Baker to consume misoprostol. (The prescription was filled by Muntzing’s wife, Tammy Erwin Muntzing.) Although Muntzing originally faced 104 years in prison, he got off with a five-year prison sentence and forfeiting his medical license. His deadly plot became the subject of a “Forensic Files” episode titled “A Bitter Pill to Swallow.”

At the time, obtaining abortion-inducing drugs required a medical connection, either as a medical professional or something with the ability to buy, or steal, such drugs. But since the Democratic Party’s aggressive expansion of “abortion access” after the 2022 Dobbs decision, anyone can get their hands on the pills.

Whole websites now act as unregistered pill peddlers of both mifepristone and misoprostol. An investigation by my former colleague at The Daily Wire, Leif Le Mahieu, found that “for less than $100, anyone can order abortion drugs such as mifepristone and misoprostol online without a prescription. Age is not verified nor is a medical professional ever consulted, meaning anyone, including young girls, can easily get their hands on the pills after brief interactions on a shady website.”

Young girls aren’t the only demographic that can exploit easy access to abortion pills. If young girls can buy abortion pills, so can their boyfriends, rapists, and traffickers. A wide variety of victimizers resort to threats of domestic violence or murder, coupled with emotional pressure, to threaten or cajole women into aborting babies they want to keep, according to an amicus brief filed in the Supreme Court’s pending case on mifepristone.

“I was forced to have an abortion,” said one woman. “I was pregnant and … he didn’t want this baby,” she said. “He wouldn’t stop threatening my life [and] my other child,” who was one year old. She eventually agreed to take the abortion cocktail under duress. “I wanted to tell them I was being forced but I was [too] scared [that] he would come after me.” The cases mount. “My boyfriend and parents insisted,” said another scared mother. “My boyfriend strongly pressured me to have an abortion,” said a third.

Thanks to the deadly combination of abortion expansion, mental intimidation, and physical violence, chemical abortion’s victims continue to stack up. The Easter holiday reminds us that this should not be so. Jesus Christ is the true High Priest Who “does not need daily … to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself” (Hebrews 7:26-27). The blood sacrifices offered up by the abortion industry carry the voice of women lamenting like Rachel over their lost children, “refusing to be comforted, because they are no more” (Matthew 2:18). One day, God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore” (Revelation 21:4).

Until that time, we must stop the sobbing of grieving mothers — and assure the abortion industry produces no more victims.

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.

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