Celeste Burgess, the Nebraska teenager who took abortion pills at six months gestation and then burned the baby’s body, has taken a plea deal with prosecutors.
Last year, Burgess and her mother were arrested when Facebook messages revealed that Burgess’ mother obtained the abortion pills for her daughter, who was 17 at the time, even though chemical abortions are not FDA-approved for use past 10 weeks of pregnancy. It’s since been revealed that Burgess was 29 weeks pregnant at the time.
In the Facebook messages, Burgess wrote that she couldn’t wait to get “this thing” out of her, and how excited she was to be able to wear jeans again. They also agreed to burn the “evidence,” meaning the baby itself.
After taking the abortion pills, Burgess gave birth to the body of her dead baby, which was then placed into a plastic bag, thrown into the back of their car, burned, and then buried. The autopsy report indicated that though the baby could have been stillborn, “the placement of the fetus into a plastic bag raises the possibility of asphyxia due to suffocation.” There were also “thermal wounds” on the baby’s body.
Burgess pled guilty to one count of removing/concealing/abandoning a dead human body, with the other two charges — concealing the death of another person and false reporting — dropped as part of her plea deal. She will be sentenced on July 20.
Her mother, Jessica Burgess, is charged with removing/concealing/abandoning a dead human body, concealing the death of another person, false reporting, performing/attempting an abortion over 20 weeks, and performing an abortion by a non-licensed doctor. Her lawyer previously asked for two of the charges to be dropped, saying that her daughter’s child was not a living person. “Fetuses do not become legally ‘living’ until they are born alive and breathe independently,” Brad Ewalt said. “Fetuses delivered dead by miscarriage or abortion are not legally cognizant ‘persons’ under Nebraska and federal law.”
That request was denied, and Burgess’ trial is scheduled to begin on August 14.