Ilhan Omar supports woman jailed for taking abortion pill and burning foetus: ‘A violation of autonomy’

Prosecutors said Celeste Burgess used abortion pills well beyond the 10-week limit approved by the Food and Drug Administration

Shweta Sharma
Tuesday 25 July 2023 07:22 EDT
Women Testify in Suit Against Texas Abortion Ban

Ilhan Omar has spoken out in defence of a teenage girl who was jailed for 90 days after taking an abortion pill to end an unwanted pregnancy.

The Democratic congresswoman posted an image on Instagram of an article titled: “Nebraska teen who used pills to end pregnancy gets 90 days in jail”.

“This is a freighting violation of privacy and autonomy…” Ms Omar wrote.

Celeste Burgess, 19, was sentenced last week after she and her mother Jessica Burgess, 42, pleaded guilty to charges earlier this year.

Prosecutors said Celeste Burgess used abortion pills well beyond the 10-week limit approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Court records reveal that she terminated her pregnancy when she was nearly 30 weeks pregnant, surpassing the generally recognised point of viability at 23 to 24 weeks. At that stage, a foetus would have a higher chance of survival outside the womb.

The mother and daughter were charged after their private Facebook messages were obtained by the police.

These messages revealed their plans to end Celeste’s pregnancy by using abortion pills ordered online and then “burn the evidence”.

The teenager was not charged by prosecutors under Nebraska’s abortion law.

Prosecutors agreed to drop two charges of concealing a death and false reporting against her after she pleaded guilty in May to concealing human skeletal remains.

Celeste was also sentenced to two years probation apart from her 90 days’ jail sentence.

Joseph Smith, the top prosecutor in Madison County, Nebraska, said the sentence “seems reasonable” as the teenager has no criminal history.

“It’s a painful case for everybody,” he said, adding that it was the first case of its type that he had prosecuted in his 33-years-long career “and I’m glad it’s over”.

Jessica Burgess meanwhile faces up to five years in jail.

The case has prompted widespread discusson, wth Ms Omar the latest to comment on the case.

Her post had garnered more than 68,000 likes as of early Tuesday morning, with comments fom her supporters including that the case was “like the beginning of the Handmaid’s Tale”.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in