Teen Who Killed, Burned and Buried Her 29-Week-Old Baby Will be Charged as an Adult

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Aug 30, 2022   |   1:18PM   |   Lincoln, Nebraska

A Nebraska teenager who allegedly aborted her viable, late-term unborn baby at home with the help of her mother is being charged as an adult.

Siouxland News reports Celeste Burgess, 18, is charged with abandoning a dead body, which is a felony, and two misdemeanors: concealing a death and false reporting.

Even though the incident occurred when she was 17, the teen is being treated as an adult; she is free on bond, according to WOWT 6 News.

On Monday, she appeared briefly in court while Madison County attorney Joe Smith filed a motion to admit new evidence. KTIV reports the evidence includes photos of the baby, information regarding medical expert testimony from the physician who performed the autopsy and Burgess’s statements to police.

Dr. Erin Linde, who performed the autopsy, said the baby was aborted at 29 weeks and five days of pregnancy, according to court records.

Burgess’s trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 14.

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The teenager and her mother, Jessica Burgess, 41, both of Norfolk, allegedly aborted the viable, late-term unborn baby with abortion drugs in April at their home. Afterward, according to police, the mother and daughter allegedly buried, burned and then re-buried the aborted baby’s body with the help of a third person, Tanner Barnhill, 22, of Norfolk.

Jessica Burgess is facing multiple charges for allegedly acquiring and administering abortion drugs to her teenage daughter and allegedly performing an illegal, late-term abortion.

According to CBS News, Jessica Burgess’s charges in Madison County District Court include performing or attempting an abortion at greater than 20 weeks, performing an abortion when not a licensed doctor, removing/concealing/abandoning a dead human body, concealing the death of another person and false reporting.

The case has attracted national news attention and outrage from abortion activists who do not believe the grandmother or mother of the baby should be charged. Some even urged women to delete Facebook because the social media company provided information to police in response to a search warrant, according to Newsweek.

Initially, police said Jessica Burgess told them that her daughter had gone into premature labor and gave birth to a stillborn baby on April 22. However, police said they later found records online of conversations between the mother and daughter about abortion drugs in April.

At first, police said their investigation centered around the improper disposal of the baby’s body. However, after further investigation, they said they discovered evidence that Jessica Burgess bought abortion drugs from a company in India and gave them to her pregnant daughter, according to the Norfolk Daily News.

Abortions are prohibited after 20 weeks in Nebraska, and illegal abortion charges are extremely rare. Madison Country attorney Joseph Smith said this is his first case involving abortion charges in his 32 years of practice, News 18 reports.

The teen is not facing abortion charges, only her mother is. Jessica Burgess allegedly put her daughter’s and unborn grandchild’s lives at risk by performing an illegal, late-term abortion.

Late-term abortions are risky for the mother as well as her unborn baby, and states that allow late-term abortions often require that they be done by a licensed doctor in a hospital because the risks are so high.

It is not clear from reports what abortion drugs Jessica Burgess allegedly obtained for her daughter, but the most common, mifepristone and misoprostol, are not recommended after the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Abortion activists claim stories like these prove that the pro-life movement wants to punish mothers for aborting their unborn babies, but the truth is that pro-life laws protect both mothers’ and babies’ lives.

Recently, pro-life leaders representing 70 organizations published an open letter opposing laws that punish mothers for abortions. The pro-life movement supports laws that prosecute abortionists and those who help them abort unborn babies.