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Nebraska woman charged with helping daughter's abortion

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

Josh Funk

Omaha (AP) — A Nebraska woman died of her teenage daughter about 24 weeks after investigators discovered a Facebook message. She was charged with helping terminate a pregnancy. The two discussed using drugs to induce an abortion, then planned to burn the fetus.

The prosecutor in charge of the case said she was the first to prosecute someone for illegally performing an abortion after 20 weeks, a restriction passed in 2010. States were not allowed to ban abortions until the fetus was considered viable outside the womb, about 24 weeks.

In one of her Facebook messages, 41-year-old Jessica Burgess told her then-17-year-old daughter that she had gotten her abortion pills. and explain how to take her. she terminates the pregnancy.

Her daughter, meanwhile, "talks about how she can't wait to get the 'thing' out of her body," detectives wrote in court documents. “She can finally wear jeans,” she says in one of her messages. Law enforcement officials obtained the messages in search warrants and detailed some of them in court documents.

In early June, the mother and daughter were charged with only one count of felony removal, concealment, and abandonment of a corpse, and her two misdemeanor counts of concealing and falsely reporting another's death. . About a month later, investigators added a felony abortion-related charge against her mother after reviewing her private Facebook messages. The daughter, now 18, is being charged as an adult at the request of the prosecutor.

Burgess' attorney did not immediately reply to Tuesday's message, and the public defender representing his daughter declined to comment.

In an initial interview. , the two told investigators that the teenager unexpectedly gave birth to a stillborn baby early in the morning on April 22 while taking a shower. There was a box in the back of the van, and then they drove a few miles north of town, where they buried the body with the help of a 22-year-old man. Because of this, the man, who the AP has not identified, has no objection to helping bury the unborn child on rural land owned by his parents north of Norfolk in northeastern Nebraska. He is expected to be sentenced later this month.

According to court documents, detectives said the fetus showed signs of "burns," and the man told investigators that the mother and daughter had been burned. He also wrote that his daughter confirmed in a Facebook exchange with her mother that the two would "burn the evidence later." Based on medical records, the fetus was over 23 weeks old, detectives wrote.

Burgess later admitted to investigators that she had purchased abortion pills "with the intention of inducing a miscarriage."

Both mother and daughter initially said they could not remember the date of the stillbirth, but detectives said the daughter later checked Facebook messages to confirm the date. She then asked for a warrant.

Madison County Attorney Joseph Smith told The Lincoln Journal His Star in connection with illegally performing abortions during his 32 years as county attorney. He said he had never made such an allegation. He did not immediately respond to a message from his AP on Tuesday.

The National Advocates for Pregnant Women, an organization that supports abortion rights, said that from 2006 to her 2020, her 1,331 women were arrested or detained for offenses related to pregnancy. I found

Current 20- Nebraska tried and failed to ban abortion earlier this year — bans all abortions when U.S. Supreme Court overturns her Roe v. Wade decision, An attempt to pass the so-called trigger method failed.

A Facebook spokesperson declined to discuss the details of the matter, but a spokesperson for the social media giant said it "confirms that it is legally valid. "We are constantly scrutinizing all government requests we receive," he said. said the government provided information to investigators on about 88% of the 59,996 requests for data late last year. Year.