Abortions are legal in Nebraska – up until the 20th week. After that, they are illegal. Now, there are a few other rules, too. You have to get your abortion from a licensed practitioner.
One mother and daughter in Nebraska decided that they were going to break all of the laws – and a few more along the way. And it’s all because the daughter was in her 23rd week of pregnancy. At that point, she could have easily waited another 14+ weeks to give birth to the child and give it up for adoption. Or, they could have traveled to a state where it was legal to get an abortion later in the game.
What they did was unsettling, to say the very least. Prepare yourselves…
Jessica Burgess, a 41-year-old mother, helped her 18-year-old daughter Celeste perform an at-home abortion. They didn’t have the help of a licensed doctor, nor did they dispose of the fetus in a proper manner.
The mother and daughter are being charged on a number of different accounts, including the concealment of a death.
As reported by Forbes, the mother had obtained abortion pills for her daughter and gave her instructions on how to take them.
After that, it’s been one chaotic story, with the fetus being buried somewhere in Madison County, Nebraska with the help of Tanner Barnhill, a 22-year-old. His parents own the property.
Once the body was retrieved by investigators, court records said that the fetus showed signs of “thermal wounds.” That’s when Jessica and Celeste Burgess were accused of burning the fetus.
There was a significant amount of evidence adding up against the mother and daughter. Their original story of the daughter having a miscarriage didn’t hold. And even if she had a miscarriage, there are still medical interventions that should be done so that a fetus isn’t buried – and certainly not burned.
The Burgesses were finally accused of performing an abortion illegally, and they were charged in the Madison County District Court. Performing an abortion after 20 weeks and doing so without a license are both felonies in Nebraska.
Barnhill along with the Burgesses have all plead not guilty. It has yet to come out as to whether they have legal representation or how this is going to end.
This case is particularly interesting because it’s in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned. It helps to feed into the fears that women will lose access to abortion services in Republican states.
Will there be more stories like that of what the Burgesses did because of abortion services being prevented? Let’s hope not. And what happened in Nebraska needs to be a cautionary tale – no one should ever try to perform an abortion at home. For those who feel as though they have no other options, there are states where it is allowed.
However, at some point, those who are pregnant have to come to terms with their prior actions. At the 23-week mark, most women know that they are pregnant. They are about to head into the third trimester. Multiple menstrual cycles would have been missed. There were signs – and the Burgesses should have acted considerably sooner than they did.
Pete Ricketts, the Republican governor of Nebraska, has said that he will not call on legislation to vote on a 12-week abortion ban. He plans to keep it at the 20-week mark as there is not sufficient support for an added restriction.