While the case fed into abortion activists’ growing concerns about tech privacy following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide, in June, the incident happened two months earlier, in April.
According to police, the daughter gave birth in a bathtub or shower in the early morning hours. The records say that she and her mother placed the baby’s remains in a bag and, placed the bag into a box in a cargo van.
The baby’s remains were moved three times to different locations, according to McBride in court documents. Those same documents say that a man who helped bury the baby’s remains said that the mother and daughter attempted to burn the baby’s body before burying it.
After exhuming a body from the spot where the mother and daughter said they buried the baby’s remains, on April 29, McBride said the body they found “appeared to have thermal injuries.”
An April 30 autopsy on that body said the exact cause of death was unknown and that the findings were consistent with the baby being stillborn. Still, McBride noted that placement of the baby’s body in the plastic bag raised the possibility of suffocation.
Only Jessica Burgess is charged with abortion-related felonies: performing an abortion without a medical license, and performing or attempting to perform an abortion on an unborn child 20 weeks after conception.
Both women face charges of mishandling human remains (felony), concealing a death (misdemeanor), and providing false information (misdemeanor).
A not-guilty plea was made on the mother’s behalf, while the daughter pleaded not guilty.
The Catholic response
Paige Brown, the communications and outreach specialist at the Nebraska Catholic Conference, called the known details of the case “particularly tragic and disturbing.”
She focused on holding the provider of the abortion pills accountable.
(Story continues below)
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“Since abortion-inducing drugs are not FDA-approved after ten weeks, and the mailing of these drugs in Nebraska is illegal, we must learn who provided these dangerous drugs,” she told CNA. “It's clear: abortion providers are willing to break the law, risk preborn lives, and risk the lives of vulnerable women for profit.”
Senior fellows with The Catholic Association (TCA), an organization dedicated to defending religious liberty, life, and the Church in the public square, also weighed in on the case.
“This tragedy illustrates what 50 years of an abortion dependent culture has wrought,” Maureen Ferguson, a senior fellow for TCA, told CNA.
She addressed how Catholics should respond.
“This story cries to out to us as Catholics to give of our time, talent, and treasure to help build a culture of life,” she said, before encouraging Catholics to get involved with the U.S. bishops’ pro-life parish-based ministry, Walking With Moms in Need.
Another fellow, Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, spoke about the implications of abortion by pill in response to the “tragic case.”