Wednesday, November 22, 2017
News Roundup

Experts use evidence in abortion pill case to reach opposing opinions

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — For two days, lawyers grilled scientists at a court hearing to explore whether a single abortion pill caused John Andrew Welden's former romantic partner to lose her pregnancy.

On Wednesday, two experts for the government leaned toward yes.

Thursday, three experts for the defense leaned toward no.

Why such contradiction?

"The law is asking a question that medicine can't answer," testified Beverly Winikoff, who has spent decades investigating abortion drugs and consults for the World Health Organization.

But Winikoff, a medical doctor and professor of clinical population and reproductive health at Columbia University, sided Thursday with the defense, discounting the theory that a 200-microgram dose of the drug misoprostol terminated Remee Jo Lee's nearly 7-week pregnancy last spring

"I'm sure it could happen, but it's not likely," Winikoff said.

Lee more likely suffered a spontaneous abortion caused by a chromosomal abnormality — an accident of how cells divide — that is a common cause of miscarriages at that gestational period, the doctor said.

Another medical doctor, Catherine Lynch of USF Health, had testified Wednesday that chromosomal analysis, called karyotype testing, could not be done on Lee's embryo because it was preserved in formaldehyde, which makes it impossible to regrow cells.

In her testimony, she estimated that Lee had a less than 1 percent chance of a miscarriage from natural causes, based in part on pregnancy hormone levels, and opined that the drug had served its intended purpose.

Doctors testifying Thursday used the same hormone levels for the defense.

When misoprostol is used in miscarriage, the pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) drops quickly, Winikoff said.

"The hCG drops like a stone," she said. "Within 24 hours, it's almost gone."

She said Lee's levels appeared to drop slowly, more consistent with a miscarriage from natural causes, and she speculated that Lee might already have been in trouble when she took the pill.

Welden, 29, of Lutz pleaded guilty to product tampering and mail fraud after prosecutors say he tricked Lee into thinking the drug was an antibiotic.

He faces up to 15 years in prison. In September, attorneys brought a plea agreement to U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara that recommended a term of 13 years and eight months.

Attorneys are supposed to make final arguments in the evidentiary hearing today, with sentencing at a later date.

It looked Thursday as if Lee, 27, also of Lutz, might testify.

Those plans were canceled without explanation after Lazzara and attorneys conferred in private. She still could speak later at the sentencing.

Patty Ryan can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3382.

Comments
Hometown Pasco for Nov. 24

Hometown Pasco for Nov. 24

We want your news! Hometown Pasco is devoted to everyday life in our county, whether it’s snapshots from your family reunion, recreational sporting event, news from your last club meeting or just a few lines thanking someone for a job well do...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Call Missouri jinxed, but Michael Porter Jr. injury is its own story

Please repeat after me: There is no such thing as jinxes, hexes, ghosts or cartoonish black clouds looming with personalized curses for select targets.Honest.But, boy, are there coincidences — even if some say there is no such thing as those, either....
Updated: 6 hours ago
Cambridge Christian’s Caleb Young makes up for lost season

Cambridge Christian’s Caleb Young makes up for lost season

TAMPA — For Cambridge Christian, last Friday’s Class 2A region final against Indian Rocks Christian represented a hurdle that the Lancers couldn’t quite clear a year ago. For one Lancer in particular, it was the Golden Eagles themselves that brought ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Bucs journal: Defense struggling to get off the field on third and long

Bucs journal: Defense struggling to get off the field on third and long

TAMPA — Third and long, normally an ideal situation for an NFL defense, continues to be a problem as the Bucs try to get opposing offenses off the field.In the second half of Sunday’s game, the Dolphins converted six third downs when they needed 8 ya...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Bucs-Falcons: Has this former Buc become a pass-rushing force?

Bucs-Falcons: Has this former Buc become a pass-rushing force?

TAMPA — The Bucs face the defending NFC champions twice in their final six games. As they prepare to go to Atlanta on Sunday, former Tampa Bay first-round pick Adrian Clayborn is enjoying quite a two-week run.Clayborn, 29, had six sacks Nov. 12 in a ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Fennelly: USF-UCF rivalry needs more than directional disrespect

Fennelly: USF-UCF rivalry needs more than directional disrespect

TAMPA — It’s the biggest football game in USF history.It’s two days and 90 miles away. USF at UCF. The 9-1 Bulls against the 10-0 Knights. It’s USF coach Charlie Strong against UCF/Florida/Nebraska coach Scott Frost. It’s the best these two programs ...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Chip Kelly is not the best candidate for Florida job

For the sake of a beleaguered and bedraggled fan base, here’s hoping Chip Kelly becomes the next head coach of the Florida Gators even though I think he’s not a great fit — culturally, geographically and philosophically — at UF.Gator Nation needs som...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Lane Kiffin knows speculation about his future grows with each victory

BOCA RATON — Lane Kiffin already knows what profession he will choose once his coaching career ends.Kiffin, in his first season at Florida Atlantic, thinks he is destined to join the sports-media ranks. It will provide him opportunity to switch roles...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Strong’s slip about UCF’s Griffin seen as motivation for Knights

Strong’s slip about UCF’s Griffin seen as motivation for Knights

TAMPA — While saying nothing to purposely fan the flames of the USF-UCF rivalry during his weekly news conference Tuesday, Bulls coach Charlie Strong provided fuel for the Knights’ best player.He used the H-word when discussing Knights senior outside...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Miami up to No. 2, behind Alabama, in College Football Playoff rankings

Miami up to No. 2, behind Alabama, in College Football Playoff rankings

Miami moved up to No. 2 behind Alabama in the College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday night, with Clemson slipping one spot to three and Oklahoma holding at four. Wisconsin and Auburn remained next up behind the top four in a week when the...
Updated: 6 hours ago