A Nebraska teenager has been sentenced to 90 days in jail for having an illegal late-term abortion at home. Prosecutors said Celeste Burgess, 19, had an abortion when she was around 23 weeks pregnant, exceeding the legal limit in Nebraska, which was then 20 weeks but has since been reduced to 12 weeks.
Burgess’s mother, Jessica Burgess, was also involved and has pleaded guilty to providing an illegal abortion, false reporting, and tampering with human remains. Another woman, Tanner Barnhill, 22, was charged with helping them dispose of the fetus.
The investigation began after Norfolk police received a tip about the incident. When questioned, Celeste claimed she had miscarried and buried the body. However, evidence showed that the fetus had been subjected to “thermal injuries” before being buried, authorities said.
In court, Celeste pleaded guilty to one count of removing, concealing, or abandoning a dead body, as part of a plea deal. Both she and her mother were charged with felonies and misdemeanors related to the incident.
Nebraska’s abortion limit was reduced to 12 weeks, sparking protests across the state. The bill also included restrictions on gender-affirming medical care for individuals under 19. Governor Jim Pillen signed the bill into law, calling it a significant win for the social conservative agenda.
Opponents of the law, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska, have vowed to challenge it in court, arguing that it disregards people’s freedom and well-being.
Nebraska had not passed a new abortion ban since 2010 when it limited the procedure to around 20 weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest, and life-saving situations.
The Nebraska abortion limit was reduced from 20 to 12 weeks in May this year, wrapped into a bill which also restricts gender-affirming medical care for people younger than 19.