A Nebraska mother who pleaded guilty to providing her 17-year-old daughter with pills that induced an abortion was sentenced Friday to two years in prison.
Jessica Burgess, 42, pleaded guilty in July to giving her daughter the pills then helping to burn and bury the fetus. She was charged with tampering with human remains, false reporting and providing an abortion after at least 20 weeks of gestation, which was illegal in Nebraska.
Madison County District Judge Mark Johnson sentenced Burgess to one year for each of the two counts, ruling that they run concurrently. The one-year sentence for the abortion count would run after the sentences for the first two offenses.
She will be eligible for release after about a year.
According to the judge, Burgess knew she was breaking the state’s abortion law by initially lying to investigators about it. He also noted that she went to “extraordinary means” to obtain the pills online, according to the Norfolk Daily News.
“I shudder to think, Ms. Burgess, that you have such disrespect for a — call it a human fetus, call it a stillborn child — that you would treat it like yesterday’s trash and not give it some respect in its treatment and disposal,” the judge said. “Our society expects more; it demands more.”
Burgess’ daughter, Celeste Burgess, was sentenced in July to 90 days in jail and two years of probation for burning and burying the fetus. She was released from jail on Sept. 11.
At the time Burgess secured the pills for her daughter, Nebraska law banned abortion after 20 weeks of gestation.
According to CNN, investigators used Facebook messages between the mother and daughter to establish that they discussed obtaining abortion pills and burning “the evidence,” court documents showed.
Earlier this year, Nebraska’s governor signed a bill into law that bans most abortions after 12 weeks, with exceptions for sexual assault, incest and medical emergencies.