Facebook/Meta Provided Nebraska Authorities With A Teen Girl’s Private DMs So She Could Be Prosecuted For An Abortion

When Mark Zuckerberg looks back on the many ways he changed the world with Facebook and Meta, and how his social media site personally impacted the lives of millions, he can remember that it was because of Facebook that a pregnant teenager was prosecuted — along with her mother — for an abortion.

Motherboard reports that authorities in Nebraska are prosecuting a 17-year-old and her mother for a variety of felonies and misdemeanors after the two obtained Pregnot, a medication that is used to induce abortion. Much of the case is reportedly relying on the teen’s Facebook DMs, which the authorities obtained directly through Meta — Facebook’s parent company — via a court order.

Pregnot — a kit containing a mix of the mifepristone, a progesterone blocker, and misoprostol, which helps to prevent stomach bleeding and ulcers — has regularly been used to safely end pregnancies during the first trimester. In this case, according to Motherboard, the teen “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 post-fertilization abortion ban, which makes allowances only if the pregnant person is at risk of death or ‘serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.’ (Nebraska’s abortion laws have not changed since Roe v Wade was overturned).”

After taking the medication, the young woman reportedly gave birth to a stillborn fetus, which they buried with the help of a 22-year-old man, who has been charged with attempting to conceal the death of another person. She discussed the matter via private messages on Facebook, and it’s those messages that will form the basis of much of the case against her and her mom. Both women were arrested and held on $10,000 bail, with jail records indicating that they have since been released.

While the teenager has been charged with one felony and two misdemeanors, her mother is facing three felonies (including one performing/attempting an abortion at greater than 20 weeks when not a licensed doctor) and two misdemeanor offenses.

Motherboard obtained the court documents, which indicate that the activities in question took place before the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v Wade in June. What makes the case a precedent-setting one, however, write Jason Koebler and Anna Merlan, are how the documents “show in shocking detail how abortion could and will be prosecuted in the United States, and how tech companies will be enlisted by law enforcement to help prosecute their cases.”

You can view the full documents on Motherboard.

(Via Motherboard)