Delete Facebook trends after chat messages lead to abortion charges

Social media users have been urged to delete their Facebook accounts after reports the company was leaking messages leading to charges related to an illegal abortion.

Jessica Burgess, 41, has been charged after she allegedly obtained and administered abortion pills to her then 17-year-old daughter Celeste Burgess, who was 23 weeks pregnant, in Nebraska earlier this year.

Those charges came after detectives uncovered Facebook messages in which the couple discussed using drugs to induce an abortion and then cremating the fetus.

In early June, the mother and daughter were charged only with removing, concealing or leaving behind a body – a felony – and two misdemeanors: concealing the death of another person and false reporting.

But in July, after investigators obtained and reviewed the private Facebook messages between the mother and daughter, Jessica Burgess was also charged with performing or attempting an abortion more than 20 weeks pregnant and performing an abortion as an unlicensed doctor to have. Abortion is illegal 20 weeks after fertilization of an egg under a previously enacted Nebraska law roe was knocked down.

Both Jessica and Celeste Burgess pleaded not guilty to the charges at a hearing last week Norfolk Daily News reported. Her lawyers could not be immediately contacted for comment.

Facebook’s parent company Meta said the search warrants demanding access to the private messages made no mention of abortion.

But the case raised new concerns about how data collected by companies could help prosecutors enforce abortion restrictions since the US Supreme Court struck down Roe v. calf In late June, federal protection for the procedure was removed until fetal viability, which occurs at about 24 weeks.

The hashtag #DeleteFacebook trended on Twitter as reports of the case circulated, with angry users urging women to delete their accounts.

“Every woman should delete Facebook immediately,” Olivia Julianna, a 19-year-old Texas activist, wrote alongside the hashtag.

Sean Wiggs wrote that Facebook “has shown that it will compromise your privacy at every opportunity”.

Emily Crockett said the case was “just a preview of what’s to come,” noting it had come before roe fell.

“If you don’t #DeleteFacebook, at least make sure you never talk about anything on Facebook Messenger that you don’t want the police to see,” Crockett wrote.

Fight for the Future, a nonprofit advocacy group, tweeted, “Sure #deleteFacebook if you want. But let’s face it, many people won’t. So instead, let’s demand that Facebook implement standard end-to-end encryption on all DMs.

“This is the only way Facebook and other online platforms can really protect users when they post.roe World.”

In a statement, Meta said: “Nothing in the valid warrants we received from local law enforcement in early June, ahead of the Supreme Court decision, mentioned abortion.

“The warrants were for charges related to a criminal investigation and court documents suggest police were investigating the case of a stillborn baby who was cremated and buried at the time and no decision on an abortion.

“Both arrest warrants were originally accompanied by non-disclosure orders that prevented us from disclosing any information about them. The orders have now been lifted.”

Meta has been contacted for further comments.

Norfolk Police began investigating in April after receiving a tip that Celeste Burgess had miscarried and she and her mother had buried the fetus without reporting it, according to an affidavit from Norfolk Detective Ben McBride Police Investigation Unit.

The detective obtained medical records showing that she was more than 23 weeks pregnant at the time.

The mother and daughter told him that Celeste Burgess had unexpectedly given birth in the shower in the early hours of April 22nd.

Facebook and Messenger logos
In this photo illustration, the logo of Messenger and Facebook applications is displayed on the screen of an Apple iPhone in Paris, France, April 06, 2018.
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They said they put the fetus in a bag and buried it several miles north of Norfolk with the help of a 22-year-old man. The man did not advocate burying the fetus on land owned by his parents. He told police that the mother and daughter tried to cremate the fetus before burying it.

Authorities found “thermal wounds” on the fetus when they exhumed it, the detective wrote.

Police then received a tip in June from a woman who said she was a friend of Celeste Burgess and saw her take the first abortion pill in April, McBride wrote.

McBride then filed a motion and received a warrant to confiscate phones and laptops and forced Facebook to leak messages.

He found messages from Jessica Burgess suggesting that she had obtained abortion pills for her daughter and instructed her on how to take them. She also wrote about a plan to “burn the evidence afterwards.”

Celeste Burgess “talks about how she can’t wait to get that ‘thing’ out of her body,” the detective wrote. “I’ll finally be able to wear jeans,” she says in another message.

In July, the abortion-related crimes were added to the charges against Jessica Burgess.

Madison County Attorney Joseph Smith said so Lincoln Journal Star that he has never pressed these charges in his 32 years as district attorney. He has been contacted for further comments. Delete Facebook trends after chat messages lead to abortion charges

Rick Schindler

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