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Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

A Baby in the Potter’s Field

Nebraska teen who used pills to murder her daughter gets 90 days in jail for burning and hiding the corpse.

Supercell,Thunderstorm,Over,Corn,Field,In,Nebraska,Giant,Clouds
(By Shelly MD Photography/Shutterstock)

The baby-killers have found their first post-Roe martyr.

Celeste Burgess was roughly thirty weeks pregnant—seven and a half months. At that point in development, her child would have been about three pounds and nearly sixteen inches long. You can almost imagine holding her: the little hands, the little eyes and nose, the bald head and shriveled skin. She would be tiny and fragile, but she’d have a pretty good chance of surviving in a hospital if delivered at this stage.

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Celeste Burgess, it seems, does not have a healthy person’s moral imagination—to say nothing of maternal instinct.

In messages to her mother disclosed during court proceedings and dated to April 2022, the Nebraska woman discusses the arrival of abortion pills she had purchased with the intent to kill her child, in violation of a state law that permits murder only prior to 20 weeks gestation.

In two messages, Celeste reminded her mother, “Remember we burn the evidence…after everything is out.”

Jessica responded, “Yep.… Yep.… Thought u would b happy 2 hear the stuff came in.”

Celeste: “Yes. … I will finally be able to wear jeans.… F—k yes.… I jumped outta my seat.”

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Two months later, police uncovered her infant child’s corpse, burned and buried in a field outside of town.

The details of the investigation that led them there are almost as chilling as the discovery of the child. In an arrest warrant affidavit, Detective Ben McBride of the Norfolk Police Department reported the findings of his initial inquiry, that

Burgess unexpectedly gave birth to her child at home in a bathtub/shower. ... Burgess claimed the baby was stillborn. They did not know the exact date but stated it occurred in the early morning hours sometime after midnight. C. Burgess stated after she miscarried she tried to contact J. Burgess via phone but could not wake J. Burgess. Eventually C. Burgess went downstairs and woke J. Burgess up and explained what happened. C. Burgess ended up placing the body of the fetus into a bag, and then they placed the bag into a box in the back of a cargo van on their property.

The affidavit mentions additional messages between the two women in which Celeste discusses how she “can’t wait to get the ‘thing’ out of her body.”

Celeste Burgess’s callousness is shocking. The messages disclosed above would horrify any decent human being. To top it all off she could not even remember the date that she supposedly lost her child. She had to scroll through Facebook messages to find an indication, which led to the warrant that uncovered the messages that finally brought her arrest.

Her conduct was profoundly depraved, and the fact that she was sentenced this week for a secondary crime alone—concealing the body of her victim—is far from an overreach. We do not charge bank robbers for speeding on the getaway.

A good many observers, though, seem to see things rather differently.

David Frum, the far-left Canadian warmonger who aided in the murder of countless Iraqis and the senseless deaths of thousands of American soldiers, is horrified at the wrong people.

“They swore up and down they wouldn't send girls and women to prison for having abortions,” Frum wrote on Twitter Thursday. “They lied.”

He went on: “Will the policing and punishment of women be an important issue in 2024? It sure seemed important to the outcome in 2022 - and that was while the new surveillance regime was still mostly hypothetical. Now it's becoming real.”

Harry J. Sisson, a Gen Z DNC TikTok activist, pushed similar lies about the Burgess case, writing: “Wow. A teenager in Nebraska was just sentenced to 90 days in jail for using the abortion pill. This is the America Republicans want.”

“Republicans will not let women control their own bodies,” Sisson warned. “According to them, teenagers are old enough to be mothers. It’s horrifying.”

“It’s insane,” the young activist bleated. “A teen doesn’t want to become a mother, and for that, Republicans send her to jail. This cruelty needs to end.”

The New York Times is similarly disturbed. A Thursday report on the killer’s sentencing is headlined “Nebraska Teen Who Used Pills to End Pregnancy Gets 90 Days in Jail.”

In a saner society, the bait of that implicit outrage fishing would be the leniency of that sentence. It takes sixteen paragraphs for the Grey Lady even to admit, “Prosecutors did not charge Celeste Burgess under Nebraska’s abortion law.” The preceding fifteen are devoted to thinly veiled fear-mongering about whether other women might also be jailed for killing their kids. CNN has produced similar coverage fretting about the use of Facebook messages to prove the Burgesses’ crimes.

Never mind that she got off scot-free for the murder. Never mind that the consolation charge of concealing human remains actually concedes the fact of the graver crime. Even the prosecutor “said the sentence ‘seems reasonable,’ since Celeste Burgess had no criminal history,” as recorded in the Times.

Through the lens of pro-choice radicalism—or even of misguided lenience—this might make some sense. Here on earth, the facts remain. For two months a child’s body lay desecrated in the dirt just north of the town where her mother should have raised her. She was killed, and then her corpse was set on fire by the woman God appointed to keep her safe.

This child will never see the light of day, and she will never see earthly justice if 90 days is all that can be rendered.