Nebraska mother gets two years in prison for giving her daughter, 17, pills to induce abortion when the youngster exceeded the 20-week ‘passing’ limit – and then ‘burning’ and burying the remains
- Jessica Burgess, 42, pleaded guilty to helping her daughter have an abortion
- Celeste Burgess was 17 when she terminated her pregnancy at 23 weeks pregnant
- The Nebraska law had a twenty week limit, now it is a twelve week limit for abortions
A Nebraska mother who helped her daughter obtain an illegal abortion has been sentenced to two years in prison.
Jessica Burgess, 42, helped her then 17-year-old daughter Celeste end her pregnancy last April when she was at least 23 weeks pregnant.
At the time, the legal limit in Nebraska was 20 weeks, which has since been reduced to 12 weeks.
Jessica was convicted after pleading guilty to performing an illegal abortion, false reporting and tampering with human remains.
In July, Celeste Burgess, now 19, was sentenced to 90 days in prison for having an illegal late-term abortion at home before burning and burying the remains.
Celeste Burgess’ mother, Jessica Burgess, 42, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to illegal abortion, false reporting and tampering with human remains
Celeste Burgess, 19, cries after being sentenced to 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to removing, concealing or abandoning body
Celeste pleaded guilty in May to removing, concealing or abandoning a corpse as part of a plea deal in Madison County District Court.
She was released early Monday after serving 53 days of her 90-day sentence KTIV.
Jessica was ordered by a judge at the request of her attorney to undergo a psychological evaluation before her sentencing, but it was canceled due to a “lack of funding,” according to court documents reviewed by WOW.
Tanner Barnhill, 22, was also charged with helping the couple dispose of the. He pleaded no contest to a crime and was sentenced to probation.
Police launched an investigation into the women after receiving a tip that Celeste had suffered a miscarriage and buried the body.
Celeste claimed she had a stillbirth in the bathroom of her family’s home, while medical records show she was 23 weeks pregnant
Nebraska’s abortion limit was lowered from 20 to 12 weeks earlier this year, in a bill signed by Republican Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen (pictured center)
A copy of the teen’s medical records showed she was 23 weeks pregnant at the time of the alleged incident, with an expected due date of July 3.
Celeste claimed she had a stillbirth in the bathroom of her family’s home in Nebraska. According to a Zillow estimate, the family home is valued at $230,800.
US abortion laws
Last summer, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which legally protected abortions in the US.
Since then, 21 states have passed laws banning abortion or restricting the procedure earlier in pregnancy than the Roe standard.
Abortion is legal in 25 states, 20 of which have gained additional protections since the overthrow.
During their investigation, officials discovered Facebook messages between the mother-daughter duo in which they discussed abortion pills.
The messages sent two days before the alleged stillbirth showed Jessica advising her daughter about using the pills.
Celeste reportedly stated that she couldn’t wait to get the ‘thing’ out of her body.
Jessica confirmed that they would “burn the evidence afterwards.”
Barnhill showed investigators where the fetus was buried and told authorities that Jessica and Celeste had tried to burn it before burying it.
When officials exhumed the body, it showed signs of “thermal injuries.”
Nebraska’s abortion limit was lowered from 20 to 12 weeks in May of this year.
The abortion ban, signed by Republican Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen, went into effect immediately.
Since the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, conservative states have passed stricter abortion laws.
Some conservative activists are pushing for “human trafficking” laws to prevent women from leaving the state for abortions.
Earlier this year, Planned Parenthood Wisconsin announced it will resume abortion care a year after they stopped following the overturn of Roe.
A judge ruled in July that the state’s 1849 ban does not apply to consensual abortions.