As the battle over abortion rights rages on, Nebraska Democrats claim that Republicans want to put women in jail. Now, they have at least one case to back up those claims. Here is the full story.
It’s in the Jeans
“I will finally be able to wear jeans.” Those words, sent from a Nebraska daughter to her mother through Facebook Messenger, were at the crux of a recent case that landed both women in jail.
Mom Helped Out
Back in the spring of 2022, Jessica Burgess, now 42, ordered abortion pills online for her pregnant teenage daughter.
The mother then took to Messenger to send instructions to Celeste, now 19, about how to take the pills to end her unwanted pregnancy.
Deep Into Her Pregnancy
At the time, Celeste was already into her third trimester.
What the women had in mind was a violation of the Nebraska law that banned abortion after 20 weeks.
They Had Bigger Plans
But mother and daughter didn’t stop at just aborting the fetus.
They Tried to Cover It Up
In a move that authorities later said proved the women knew they were breaking the law, the women burned the aborted fetus and tried to bury the remains.
And it seems the two women weren’t the only ones who knew what they were up to.
Someone tipped off local police, who launched an investigation into the case.
Nowhere to Run
That investigation led to both women being prosecuted for abortion-related crimes, and it all came to a head this summer.
She Got Jail Time
In June, Celeste was sentenced to 90 days in jail after a judge found her guilty of burning and burying a human fetus.
She Has to Behave
She was released on September 11 but will spend the next two years on probation.
Mom Got It Worse
Jessica, meanwhile, will spend the entire period of her daughter’s extended sentence in prison.
He Threw the Book at Her
On September 22, Madison County District Judge Mark Johnson sentenced the elder Burgess to one year in prison for each of three counts.
He Cut Her a Break
The jail terms for tampering with human remains and falsifying information will run concurrently, so the overall two-year sentence collapses to one.
Then He Piled On
But Johnson made a point of singling out the abortion charge by tacking that year onto the end of the other combined sentences.
In handing down the sentence, the judge also scolded Jessica Burgess for treating the fetus of her would-be grandchild like “yesterday’s trash.”
Society Demands More
“Our society expects more; it demands more,” Johnson added on.
Democrats Are Worried
And it’s that sentiment that Democrats worry about as state politicians continue to wrangle over abortion laws more than a year after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
A Double Whammy
Republicans failed on their first try to pass a ban on abortions after the 6-week mark.
But they got a 12-week ban passed by tacking it onto another bill that bans hormone therapy for trans youth.
The ACLU Steps In
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a motion to have that new law overturned on the grounds it violates Nebraska’s constitution.
Stick to the Topic
The ACLU argues that all legislative movements in the state are required to focus on one topic.
Women Will Go to Jail
In the meantime, politicians opposed to Republican-led abortion bans point to the Burgess case as proof that women will end up in jail if conservatives get their way.
Proof Is in the Prison
And now, mother and daughter are evidence that’s exactly what will happen. And neither side seems above using them as evidence to support their case.
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The post Women Are Now Being Jailed for Getting Back-Alley Abortions first appeared on Career Step Up.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / kittirat roekburi. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.