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Facebook defends itself after handing over chat messages to US police investigating abortion

Facebook has defended itself after police investigating abortion and court documents emerged showing it provided chat messages to police that are being used to prosecute a mother and her daughter for an abortion.

The alleged abortion took place before the US Supreme Court struck down Roe v Wade, which gave American women the constitutional right to terminate their pregnancies.

However, it has generated controversy amid concerns about how reproductive rights will be policed ​​in the future, including by searching social media accounts for information.

The ability of an estimated 58 million girls and women in the US to access safe and legal abortion has been called into question.

Facebook’s parent company released a statement saying “much of the reporting about Meta’s role in a criminal case against a mother and daughter in Nebraska is simply wrong.”

What do the court documents say and what did Meta do?

According to prosecutors in Madison County in Nebraska, Jessica Burgess, 41, obtained abortion pills and then gave them to her daughter, Celeste, then 17, and helped her burn and bury the fetus with the help of a 20 year old man.

Tanner Barnhill, who is also facing misdemeanor charges.

Celeste Burgess was 28 weeks pregnant when she took the drug, which is considered the beginning of her third trimester. Nebraska limits police investigating abortion to 20 weeks in most circumstances where the mother’s health is not at risk.

The drug that Jessica Burgess obtained is designed to provide medical termination of pregnancies during the first trimester, up to the 12th week.

Police investigating abortion say a close friend of Celeste tipped them off about the case and saw her take the first pill. The women, who have pleaded not guilty, will face a jury trial in October.

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