Nebraska Teen Who Used Pills to End Pregnancy Gets 90 Days in Jail

the daughter “talks about how she can’t wait to get that ‘thing’ out of her body.”

A Nebraska teenager who used abortion pills to terminate her pregnancy was sentenced Thursday to 90 days in jail after she pleaded guilty earlier this year to illegally concealing human remains.

The teenager, Celeste Burgess, 19, and her mother, Jessica Burgess, 42, were charged last year after the police obtained their private Facebook messages, which showed them discussing plans to end the pregnancy and “burn the evidence.”

Prosecutors said the mother had ordered abortion pills online and had given them to her daughter in April 2022, when Celeste Burgess was 17 and in the beginning of the third trimester of her pregnancy. The two then buried the fetal remains themselves, police said.


Jessica Burgess pleaded guilty in July to violating Nebraska’s abortion law, furnishing false information to a law enforcement officer and removing or concealing human skeletal remains. She faces up to five years in prison at her sentencing Sept. 22, according to Joseph Smith, the top prosecutor in Madison County, Nebraska.

Greer Donley, an associate professor of law at the University Pittsburgh School of Law, said in an interview on Thursday that the case was a “harbinger of things to come,” as a flurry of Republican-led states have enacted abortion restrictions and more women in those states have sought abortion pills as a workaround.

“This case is really sad because people resort to things like this when they’re really desperate,” Professor Donley said, “and the thing that makes people really desperate is abortion bans.”

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Celeste Burgess’ mother Jessica Burgess, 41, was charged with three felonies and two misdemeanors after helping her daughter perform an at-home abortion. A Norfolk police detective opened an investigation into the abortion following a tip, according to an arrest affidavit. Police secured a search warrant to gain access to Facebook messages between the two, in which prosecutors say the women discussed terminating the pregnancy and destroying the evidence. Police then found the burned fetal remains buried in a field.


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