A mother in Nebraska received two years in prison for crimes related to giving her daughter abortion pills. The mother tampered with the remains of the fetus and lied to officers.
Nebraska mother Jessica Burgess purchased abortion pills for her 17-year-old daughter. Burgess tampered with the remains by burning and burying the fetus. She then lied to the police about the location of the baby.
In Nebraska, tampering with remains is a Class IV Felony. This charge alone can take up to two years. Burgess committed far more crimes than disposing of the remains of the fetus. Her list of crimes enraged many at the low prison sentence.
An interesting turn in this case is that Burgess settled for a plea bargain that dropped two charges. One of those charges was concealing the death of another person. The charges referred to the timing of the abortion, which happened after 20 weeks.
The charge of concealing the death of another person makes people question if this was an issue of abortion rights or if this was an issue of murder. That answer is in the wording of the crime.
Nebraska stated that Burgess knowingly gave the abortion pill to her daughter after the 20-week limit. She knew that the drug would terminate the pregnancy and, at that point, kill the fetus. A fetus that no longer fell under the abortion limits for the state.
The chain of events not only shows Burgess was the one concealing the death of another person but is also the one that caused that person’s death. According to the law in Nebraska, the charge states person, not fetus.
Some activists are outraged with Nebraska over the plea deal and the crimes that Burgess was able to avoid. This case shows how quickly the argument that a fetus is not a human can change simply based on the timing of the abortion procedure.
Not only was the abortion pill given to the 17-year-old after the 20-week limit Nebraska holds, but Burgess gave them to her daughter for use at 30 weeks. The average gestation period is 40 weeks.
This case has shown that abortion-related rulings and plea deals may need reevaluation in Nebraska.