Nebraska mother faces two years prison sentence for assisting daughter with abortion

Written by Jeppe W

Oct.27 - 2023 2:35 PM CET


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In Nebraska, 42-year-old Jessica Burgess has been sentenced to two years in prison for providing her teenage daughter with abortion pills, and subsequently aiding in the burning and burial of the fetus.

Burgess pleaded guilty to charges of tampering with human remains, false reporting, and providing an abortion past 20 weeks of gestation - a violation of Nebraska state law.

Madison County District Judge Mark Johnson imposed the sentence on Friday, opting for prison time over probation despite the defense's request.

Brad Ewalt, Burgess' attorney, argued for leniency, highlighting the challenging circumstances that led Burgess to assist her daughter in this way, according to the Norfolk Daily News.

However, Judge Johnson emphasized that Burgess' actions demonstrated a clear knowledge of the illegality of her actions and a blatant disregard for the state’s abortion laws.

The case has drawn significant attention due to its implications on the broader abortion rights conversation, particularly following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last year.

Nebraska lawmakers have since been embroiled in heated debates over abortion access, with Republicans pushing for more restrictive measures.

Jessica Burgess' daughter, Celeste Burgess, now 19, faced legal repercussions as well. She received a 90-day jail sentence and two years of probation for her role in the incident. She was released from jail on September 11th.

The Burgess case exemplifies the complex and divisive nature of abortion rights in the United States, particularly in states with more restrictive laws.

As the nation grapples with the aftermath of Roe v. Wade’s overturning, cases like this highlight the personal and legal turmoil that can ensue when abortion access is limited.

Both the ACLU and various women’s rights advocates in Nebraska are closely monitoring the situation, as the state continues to navigate the post-Roe legal landscape.

The outcome of this case, and others like it, will undoubtedly play a significant role in shaping the future of abortion rights in Nebraska and across the country.