Facebook turned over personal data to help police prosecute a teen for an alleged abortion
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaking at the Mobile World Congress on March 02, 2015, Barcelona, Spain. (Shutterstock)

Motherboard revealed that Facebook turned over data to police so that they could prosecute a teenager for seeking an abortion.

In states around the country, abortion has been banned, but in a few states, legislatures passed bills that allowed vigilantes to track down people who had abortions. What is problematic in this case, is that the incident happened in a state where abortion isn't illegal. However, it happened later in the pregnancy, which is against Nebraska's cut-off date.

At the same time, the abortion wasn't a procedure, it was a pharmaceutical abortion, meaning the teen and her mother legally purchased the medicine for the abortion and used them. Nothing illegal took place, but Facebook turned over the information nonetheless.

"According to court records, Celeste Burgess, 17, and her mother, Jessica Burgess, bought medication called Pregnot designed to end pregnancy," the report explained. "Pregnot is a kit of mifepristone and misoprostol, which is often used to safely end pregnancy in the first trimester. In this case, Burgess was 28 weeks pregnant, which is later in pregnancy than mifepristone and misoprostol are recommended for use. It's also later than Nebraska's 20-week abortion ban (abortion at 28 weeks is legal in about half the country; Nebraska's abortion laws have not changed Roe v. Wade was overturned)."

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The teen is being charged as an adult with a felony "removing/concealing/abandoning dead human body" and two misdemeanors, concealing the death of a person and false reporting. Her mother is being charged with five felonies.

While some details were reported by the Lincoln Journal-Star and Forbes, Motherboard published the search warrant and court documents, showing they organized the burial of the fetus on Facebook DM.

All of it happened prior to the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

An autopsy shows that the fetus was stillborn but the final autopsy wouldn't make any conclusions.

"An exact cause [of death] was unknown, but the lungs didn't indicate they'd ever contained any air." A final autopsy report "stated the cause of death was undetermined. The findings were consistent with the fetus being stillborn but the placement of the fetus into a plastic bag raise the possibility of asphyxia due to suffocation."

Facebook always complies with subpoenas, as do most other tech companies.

Facebook sent Raw Story the following statement: “We received valid legal warrants from local law enforcement on June 7, before the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The warrants did not mention abortion at all. Court documents indicate that police were at that time investigating the alleged illegal burning and burial of a stillborn infant. The warrants were accompanied by non-disclosure orders, which prevented us from sharing information about them. The orders have now been lifted.”

You can view the full court documents here.

Read the full report at Motherboard.