The lawyer for a Nebraska grandmother accused of illegally aborting her viable, late-term unborn grandchild and then burning the body wants a judge to drop two charges against her, arguing the unborn baby was not legally a “person.”
Jessica Burgess, 41, of Norfolk, could face up to eight years in prison for allegedly giving abortion pills to her 17-year-old daughter and aborting her unborn grandchild in April. According to police, Burgess allegedly burned and then buried the baby’s body after the abortion.
In court Wednesday, her lawyer Brad Ewalt asked District Judge Mark Johnson to throw out two of the five charges, arguing that the unborn baby was not legally a person yet under state and federal law, KTIV News 4 reports .
Ewalt said Burgess should not be charged with concealing the death of another person because the law does not recognize unborn babies as persons.
“Fetuses do not become legally ‘living’ until they are born alive and breathe independently,” Ewalt said, according to Norfolk Daily News . “Fetuses delivered dead by miscarriage or abortion are not legally cognizant ‘persons’ under Nebraska and federal law.”
He also said Burgess should not be charged with performing an abortion after 20 weeks gestation because she is allowed to make medical decisions for her minor daughter, according to the report.
Burgess also is charged with prohibited acts with human remains, false information and performing an abortion by someone other than a licensed physician.
Her trial is scheduled for December.Allegedly, Burgess obtained abortion pills for her 17-year-old daughter in mid-April and gave her instructions about how to take them. Later, police said she helped to burn and bury the aborted baby’s body.In the case of Burgess’s daughter, Celeste, now 18, medical records obtained by police indicate that she was about six months pregnant when she allegedly took the abortion […]
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