Nebraska Woman Charged With Helping Teenage Daughter Have An Abortion


     A northeast Nebraska woman has been charged multiple felonies for allegedly helping her teenage daughter have an abortion and then burn and bury the remains. 

     41-year-old Jessica Burgess of Norfolk has been charged with improperly disposing of human skeletal remains, concealing the death of another person, providing false information, and performing an abortion without a license.

     Her daughter, now 18 but 17 at the time of the incident, is also charged as an adult with prohibited acts related to human skeletal remains, concealing the death of another person, and providing false information.

     Burgess is free on $10,000 with a court appearance scheduled in early September and a trial date in October. Her daughter is free on a $20,000 bond will appear in court at the end of this month and stand trial in November.  

      The charges came after investigators uncovered Facebook messages in which the mother and daughter discussed using medication to end the approximately 24-week pregnancy. Nebraska law prohibits abortion after 20 weeks. 

      Madison County Attorney Joseph Smith says he’s never had a case involving an illegal abortion in his 32 years as a prosecutor.

     According to court documents, the teen said she “unexpectedly gave birth” at home in the bathtub on April 22 when she was about 7 months pregnant and asked her mother to help her bury the remains. 

     The girl said they were joined by a third person and tried to burn the body prior to the burial north of Norfolk. An autopsy performed on the body of the fetus revealed its lungs never contained air, which could mean a stillbirth or the fetus suffocated.

     A search warrant for messages on her Facebook account between Burgess and her daughter told a different story. Court documents show the two discussed pills Burgess had obtained online for her daughter to induce a miscarriage. 

     The messages specified she needed to take one pill, then wait 24 hours before taking a second pill. A friend of the teen’s reached out to the Madison County Attorney’s Office and reported she saw her take the first pill, then say she couldn’t wait to get the “thing” out of her body.

2 thoughts on “Nebraska Woman Charged With Helping Teenage Daughter Have An Abortion”

  1. My heart goes out to Jessica and her daughter. Illegal abortions sound like a horrifying ordeal. I hope the daughter is in good health, and i hope neither of them face any serious punishment for all of this.

    I don’t expect NE to join the ranks of many other states that allow abortion at 24 weeks, but i hope that it becomes easier for Nebraskans to travel to states with less restrictive abortion laws. Women should be able to see a medical professional for these procedures.

    I also hope that Nebraska improves its sexual education requirements if it’s going to take a stand against abortion. My high school sex ed class stressed abstinence, which is foolish. They didn’t teach us all that much about contraceptives. They didn’t tell us about the places in town that would give you free contraceptives. They told us that abstinence was the only 100% effective contraceptive, which is technically true but useless in practice.

    The state of Nebraska prepared these crimes. I hope we can all find compassion for the so-called “criminals”.


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