A judge sentenced a Nebraska teenager who took abortion pills to 90 days in jail for ‘concealing a dead body’

A judge sentenced a Nebraska teenager who took abortion pills to 90 days in jail for 'concealing a dead body'


A judge sentenced a Nebraska teenager who took abortion pills to 90 days in jail for ‘concealing a dead body’
By: Posted: July 23, 2023

  • A judge sentenced a 19-year-old in Nebraska to 90 days in jail after she took abortion pills. 
  • Celeste Burgess, 19, pleaded guilty to “concealing or abandoning a dead body.”
  • Burgess said in court that she was afraid of being taken away from her family.

A judge sentenced a 19-year-old to 90 days in jail for “concealing or abandoning a dead body” after she took abortion pills when she was 23 weeks pregnant.

Celeste Burgess earlier this year pleaded guilty to the charge as part of a plea deal. In exchange, prosecutors dropped additional charges of false reporting and concealing the death of another person, both misdemeanors, NBC reported.

Burgess was sentenced by Madison County District Judge James Kube on Thursday to two years of probation, according to the Norfolk Daily News. The first 90 days of Burgess’s probation she will have to spend in jail, but she could be released in 53 days with good behavior, the outlet reported.

Prosecutors accused Burgess’s mother, Jessica Burgess, 42, meanwhile, of buying the abortion pills online. According to NBC, she gave them to her daughter in the spring of 2022, when she was 17. At the time, Nebraska law criminalized abortion after 20 weeks of gestation. 

Jessica Burgess faces the same charges as her daughter plus a one felony count of performing an abortion beyond 20 weeks and one felony count of performing an abortion as someone other than a licensed physician, CNN reported.

Jessica pleaded guilty to concealing a dead body, performing an abortion beyond 20 weeks, and misdemeanor false reporting and is scheduled to be sentenced in September, according to the outlet.

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade in June 2022, Nebraska made abortion illegal after just 12 weeks of pregnancy. 

Kube asked Burgess in court if she had been coerced by adults, to which Burgess answered that she was not coerced by her mother or other adults, Norfolk Daily News reported.

“I was honestly scared at the time,” Burgess said in court. “I didn’t know what to do. I freaked out. I didn’t know what way to turn at all after everything had happened. And I wanted to do the right thing. But then I didn’t know if what I was doing at the time was the right thing. I do regret my decisions very much.”

Burgess told the court that she was afraid of being taken away from her family, the outlet reported.

“I’d really like to see — instead of getting locked up — I would really want a chance to actually prove to everyone that I could be a good person,” Burgess said.

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