Facebook gave cops data to prosecute Nebraska teen who allegedly had abortion

A Nebraska teenager and her mother face a handful of crimes after state officials alleged the girl self-administered an abortion but told police she had a miscarriage after 28 weeks .

Prosecutors rely much of their case on Facebook messages between the 18-year-old and her mother, which they say show the two discussing the proper method for the girl to take medication that would end her her pregnancy.

Facebook parent company Meta turned over the data in June in response to a search warrant seeking information about the daughter and mother, including their private messages and internet search history.

Messages between the two, published in court documents obtained by Motherboard, show them discussing plans, including how they intended to dispose of the fetus afterwards by burning and burning it. burying.

Girl: “Are we starting today?”

Mother: “We can if you want this one will stop the hormones”

Girl: “Okay”

Mother: “Ya the 1st pill stops hormones an rehn [sic] you have to wait 24h 2 take the other”

Girl: “Okay”

Girl: “Remember we burn the evidence”

Abortion in Nebraska is illegal if the fetus is more than 20 weeks after fertilization, with limited exceptions in case of life danger. (Nebraska did not have a trigger law in place, like several other states, to ban abortion altogether if Roe v. Wade were to fall.)

According to court documents, Norfolk Police obtained the teenager’s medical records following a tip in late April that she had suffered a miscarriage. When officers interviewed the girl and her mother three days after the miscarriage, they told a detective she had had a stillbirth and purposely showed the officer where they had buried the fetus.

At the time, the detective says he noticed the teenager, who was 17 at the time, had used Facebook Messenger to communicate with her mother the night of the stillbirth. After seeing the app on his phone, he decided to serve Meta/Facebook with a search warrant for information on both of their accounts.

Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.

The daughter and mother each face a felony charge of kidnapping, concealing or dumping a dead human body, and two misdemeanors: concealing the death of another person and making a false statement.

The teenager was also charged with two additional crimes: performing or attempting to perform an abortion at over 20 weeks and performing an abortion as an unlicensed doctor.

Medical abortion is a safe and effective way to end a pregnancy. Planned Parenthood states that abortion pills are used to terminate a pregnancy at 11 weeks or earlier, after which an in-clinic procedure is recommended.

Even before Roe’s fall, most US states restricted abortion after fetal viability, which is generally considered to be around 24 weeks. In 2019, less than 1% of abortions were performed after 21 weeks, according to CDC data.

Self-administered abortion is not illegal in the United States. Only Nevada, South Carolina and Oklahoma have laws in place criminalizing people for self-directed abortions, but legal experts warn it’s unclear whether those laws would even be upheld in court if they were enforced. contested today. .


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