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Cops Access Facebook Texts to Nab Mother, Daughter Accused of Ending Pregnancy, Burning Fetus

News18 10-08-2022 News Desk
Cops Access Facebook Texts to Nab Mother, Daughter Accused of Ending Pregnancy, Burning Fetus © Provided by News18 Cops Access Facebook Texts to Nab Mother, Daughter Accused of Ending Pregnancy, Burning Fetus

A woman from the US’ Nebraska was charged with helping her teenage daughter end her pregnancy at about 24 weeks.

Fetal viability – which played a role in the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June – was considered in the arrest of the 41-year-old woman Jessica Burgess. Fetal viability is the ability of a fetus to survive outside the womb. Doctors consider that period to be around 23 or 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Police officials using a warrant gained access to the messages Burgess sent to her daughter over Facebook Messenger. They found that in the messages Burgess discussed with her daughter how to use medication to induce an abortion and plans to burn the fetus later.

A Facebook message accessed by the police shows Burgess instructing her daughter on how to take abortion medication to end the pregnancy. Some of the messages were detailed in the court documents.

States in the US were not allowed to implement a ban on abortions until the point at which a fetus was considered viable outside the womb, which as mentioned above is roughly 24 weeks.

Prosecutors allege that the fetus was more than 23 weeks old.

The mother and the daughter were both charged with a single felony for removing, concealing or abandoning a body. They were also charged with two misdemeanours: concealing the death of another person and false reporting.

The felony abortion-related charges were added only after the Facebook messages were received.

In the messages, her teenage daughter who is now 18, sent messages like – ‘cannot wait to get the ‘thing’ out of her body’ and ‘I will finally be able to wear jeans’.

The prosecutor urged the court to treat the daughter as an adult. Burgess and her daughter when first apprehended said the girl gave birth to a stillborn baby in the shower and placed it in a box in the back of their van. They drove to the north of town and took the help of a man who buried the fetus on rural land his parents own north of Norfolk in north-east Nebraska.

The man has been charged with a misdemeanor and is due to be sentenced later this month.

Detectives, however, contend that the fetus showed signs of ‘thermal wounds’ and the man who was apprehended said that the duo burnt the fetus.

The detectives also pointed to a message where the mother-daughter duo discussed ‘burning the evidence’. The mother also admitted to buying the abortion pills “for instigating a miscarriage.”

The detectives sought a warrant after they confirmed from her Facebook messages when the stillbirth happened. Madison Country attorney Joseph Smith told local news outlets that this is the first time in 32 years of his career he filed charges related to performing an abortion illegally.

Facebook declined to talk about the case. The company says that it scrutinizes government requests before handing them information. Facebook earlier this year said that it gave investigators information in about 88% of the 59,996 times when the government requested data in the second half of last year.

(with inputs from Associated Press)

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