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Mother, daughter charged in horrific illegal abortion case. But the media mislead to push pro-abortion angle.

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Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Media outlets are sounding the alarm after Facebook allegedly handed over data to law enforcement resulting in a teenager and her mother being criminally charged for an abortion.

But the headlines misleadingly suggest the teenager is being unfairly prosecuted.

What did the media report?

  • Vice: "This Is the Data Facebook Gave Police to Prosecute a Teenager for Abortion"
  • Fortune: "Facebook turned over chats used in prosecution of 17-year-old in abortion case, spurring worries the practice could become common"
  • HuffPost: "Facebook Gave Cops Data To Prosecute Nebraska Teenager Who Allegedly Had An Abortion"
  • Newsweek: "Facebook Turning Over Data in Teen's Abortion Case Raises Privacy Questions"
  • The Guardian: "Facebook gave police their private data. Now, this duo face abortion charges"
  • Tech Crunch: "Facebook helps cops prosecute 17-year-old for abortion"
  • PC Mag: "Facebook Gave Nebraska Police Data to Prosecute Teenager in Abortion Case"

But what is the truth?

It is true that Facebook turned over data to investigators.

But the truth is the data was evidence investigators requested as they investigated a Nebraska mother and her teenage daughter, who now face multiple criminal charges after they allegedly conducted an illegal abortion, burning and burying the unborn child.

According to the Lincoln Journal Star, a Norfolk, Nebraska, police detective began investigating in April after receiving a tip that then-17-year-old Celeste Burgess, who is now 18 years old, had miscarried a pregnancy and that she and her mother, 41-year-old Jessica Burgess, disposed of the unborn child's body.

When the detective obtained the teenager's medical records, he learned she had been pregnant nearly six months and was expected to deliver the child in early July. When he interviewed her, she claimed that she had unexpectedly given birth to a stillborn child while in the shower. She explained that she and her mother then buried the body with the help of another man.

When investigators interviewed that man, he disclosed that the mother and daughter allegedly burned the child. When authorities exhumed the body, they discovered evidence corroborating the man's claims.

In light of the horrifying discovery, police charged the mother and daughter with felony removing, concealing or abandoning a dead human body and two misdemeanors: concealing the death of another person and false reporting.

Finally, investigators obtained Facebook messages in June after serving a warrant on the social media platform. The messages reportedly showed the mother and daughter had conspired to perform an illegal abortion and hide evidence of their crime.

The messages purportedly revealed the mother had obtained abortion pills for her daughter.

"C. Burgess talks about how she can’t wait to get the ‘thing’ out of her body and reaffirms with J. Burgess that they will burn the evidence afterward," one detective wrote in an affidavit.

In fact, court documents published by Vice show that Burgess only delivered the allegedly stillborn child after taking the abortion drug.

After learning of the conspiracy, prosectors slapped Jessica Burgess with two additional felonies: performing or attempting an abortion on a pregnancy at more than 20 weeks and and performing an abortion as a non-licensed doctor.

Nebraska bans abortion after 20 weeks.

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