A Nebraska woman has been accused of helping her teenage daughter term her pregnancy at about 24 weeks after investigators uncovered Facebook messages in which the two discussed using drugs to induce an abortion and plotted to have the to burn the fetus afterwards.
The prosecutor handling the case said it was the first time he had prosecuted someone for having an illegal abortion after 20 weeks, a restriction imposed in 2010. Before the US Supreme Court in June Roe v. Wade lifted, states were not allowed to enforce abortion bans to the point where a fetus outside the uterus is considered viable, at about 24 weeks.
In one of the Facebook messages, Jessica Burgess, 41, tells her then 17-year-old daughter that she has obtained abortion pills for her and gives her instructions on how to take them to end the pregnancy.
The daughter “talks about how she can’t wait to get the ‘thing’ out of her body,” one detective wrote in court filings. “I’ll finally be able to wear jeans,” she says in one of the messages. Law enforcement received the messages with a search warrant and listed some of them in court documents.
Biden administration condemns Indiana’s new abortion ban: ‘A devastating move’
In early June, the mother and daughter were charged with just a single felony, removing, concealing or leaving behind a body, and two felonies: covering up the death of another person and false reporting. It was only about a month later, after investigators reviewed the private Facebook messages, that they added the abortion charges against the mother. The now 18-year-old daughter is being charged as an adult at the request of the public prosecutor.
Burgess’ attorney did not immediately respond to a message Tuesday, and the public defender representing the daughter declined to comment.
When first questioned, the two told investigators the teen unexpectedly gave birth to a stillborn baby in the shower in the early hours of April 22 in their van and later drove several miles north of town, where they found the body with the help of a 22-year-old man buried.
CRA says it has $1.4 billion in uncashed 1998 checks
The earth is spinning faster than normal and we just had our shortest day in recent history
The man, whom The Associated Press has not identified because he was charged with only one misdemeanor, has not appealed to assist with the burial of the fetus on his parents’ rural land north of Norfolk in northeastern Nebraska. He is due to be sentenced later this month.
Indiana becomes first state to ban abortion after Roe v. Wade approved
In court documents, the detective said the fetus showed signs of “thermal wounds” and the man told investigators the mother and daughter burned him. He also wrote that the daughter confirmed in a Facebook exchange with her mother that the two would “burn the evidence afterwards”. Based on medical records, the fetus was more than 23 weeks old, the detective wrote.
Burgess later admitted to investigators that he bought the abortion pills “to induce a miscarriage.”
At first, both mother and daughter said they didn’t remember the date of the stillbirth, but according to the detective, the daughter later confirmed the date by consulting her Facebook messages. He then applied for the arrest warrant, he said.
Madison District Attorney Joseph Smith told the Lincoln Journal Star that in his 32 years as district attorney, he has never brought charges of illegal abortion. He did not immediately respond to a message from the AP on Tuesday.
Biden signs executive order to reduce cost of out-of-state abortions
The National Advocates for Pregnant Women group, which campaigns for abortion rights, found 1,331 arrests or detentions of women between 2006 and 2020 for crimes related to their pregnancy.
In addition to its current 20-week abortion ban, earlier this year Nebraska tried – but failed – to pass a so-called trigger bill that would have outlawed all abortions when the US Supreme Court Roe v. Wade picked up.
A Facebook spokesman declined to go into the details of this case, but the company said officials at the social media giant “always review every government request we receive to make sure it’s legal.”
Facebook says it will fight back against requests it thinks are invalid or too broad, but the company said it has given investigators data on about 88% of the 59,996 cases the government has seen in the second half of last year requested, information given.
© 2022 The Canadian Press
https://globalnews.ca/news/9049126/abortion-nebraska-charges-facebook/ Facebook data leads to charges against Nebraska woman for aiding daughter’s abortion – National