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Nebraska Mom, Teen Daughter Charged After Illegal Abortion; Seven Russian Warplanes Destroyed In Huge Blasts At Crimean Air Base; Puerto Rico Facing Climate Crisis. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired August 11, 2022 - 10:30   ET




ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: A mother and her teenage daughter in Nebraska are facing multiple charges accused of performing an illegal abortion on the 17-year-old and hiding the remains of the stillborn fetus. Police are saying they used Facebook messages between the two to help build their case, which is now raising alarms about privacy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: So this alleged incident unfolded I should note before the overturning of Roe vs. Wade by the Supreme Court but Nebraska law prohibits abortions after 20 weeks. Court documents suggest the teen was 28 weeks pregnant at the time. Our Lucy Kafanov joins me now and has been following this story for us. Explain what is happening here.

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Poppy. Alex, good morning. Although as you point out this case does predate the Roe versus Wade decision being overturned by the Supreme Court, it does highlight an issue that digital privacy experts have been raising alarms about for months now, which is how people's personal data could potentially be used to enforce increasingly restrictive anti-abortion laws in multiple states.

Now Nebraska prohibits abortion after 20 weeks police there were investigating a mother and her daughter whose pregnancy had actually ended at 28 weeks. Court documents claim that the daughter initially told investigators that she had miscarried a stillborn fetus and that she and her mother later buried it police ended up going to exhume the remains.

They found evidence that the fetus may have been burned. And so initially at first mom and daughter were only charged with a single felony for removing concealing or abandoning a body and then two misdemeanors, one on concealing the death of another person and one misdemeanor count of false information.


Now they pleaded not guilty. Trials have been set for later this year. But law enforcement continue to investigate this case even after those initial charges because they remembered in those early interviews with police, the daughter had scrolled through Facebook, through her Facebook Messenger messages to try to figure out the date of this miscarriage that that she claimed was a miscarriage. They wanted to see the messages she had in her phone and so they obtained a search warrant. They got their hands on Facebook messages between the mother and the daughter as well as other data from the social media company, that appeared to make reference to abortion pills as well as burning the evidence.

Now after reviewing the data handed over by Facebook, authorities added the felony abortion related charges against the mom, the daughter who's now 18 is being charged as an adult at prosecutor's request. She was 17 at the time of this taking place.

Now a spokesperson for Meta which is Facebook's parent company tweeted on Tuesday that quote, nothing in the valid warrants we received from local law enforcement in early June prior to the Supreme Court decision mentioned abortion. The warrants concerned charges related to a criminal investigation and court documents indicate that police at the time were investigating the case of a stillborn baby who was burned and buried not a decision to have an abortion.

But this case raises a lot of concerns about how tech companies will respond to law enforcement requests for data that could lead to the prosecution of abortion seekers and providers, Poppy, Alex back to you.

HARLOW: It really does -- it really does Lucy highlight those key questions that were raised in the days following the Supreme Court overturning Roe. Thank you for the reporting.

MARQUARDT: Thanks, Lucy. Well, weapons from NATO are changing the way that Ukrainian soldiers are defending their country against Russian forces but new weapons may not be enough against Russia. Stay with us



HARLOW: Turning now to Russia's war in Ukraine new images showing that at least seven Russian aircraft were destroyed in those explosions over Crimea -- over that Crimean airbase earlier this week and while the cause of the blast is unknown, it could end up being one of the most destructive days for the Russian Air Force and for Russian aircraft since World War II.

MARQUARDT: Now reaching way into Crimea there this as the Ukrainian military is announcing that it has carried out multiple airstrikes on Russian positions and equipment in the southern part of Ukraine. And in a tweet, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry really trolled the Russian forces and use the classic ad song to do it. Take a listen.

Cruel, cruel summer there if you couldn't make it out, because those Crimean beachgoers have to flee because of the violence. We have now on the ground, our CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson. He is in eastern Ukraine in Kramatorsk. Nic, the United Kingdom has given so many weapons alongside other NATO countries, they just announced that they're sending more long range rocket systems to Ukraine. And you've been getting a look at how the Ukrainians are shifting the kind of weaponry they use to use more NATO weapons in this fight against Russia.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, the Ukrainians are going to be getting those 50-mile range British weapons fairly soon. All this reach that goes beyond the lines to the rear positions that the Russians have that ammo dumps, for fuel supplies, all of these Ukrainian forces think actually slowing the Russian advance it just makes it harder for them to come forward. The same with those warplanes Russian warplanes that were taken out in Crimea.

And this is what we saw close to the frontlines here. This new mechanized artillery that has been given by Poland is also making a significant contribution.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Suddenly, action camouflage off, Ukrainian troops rushing their new NATO compatible artillery out of cover. The Polish Krabs, a 40-ton beasts of battle.

This state targeting Russian positions almost 30 kilometers, 18 miles away. They shoot and scoot.

ROBERTSON (on camera): The whole operation took about two to three minutes they calculate. They've got about eight minutes to get back under the tree line here to be safe from a return fire.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): There's a lot these troops like about their new kit safety high on the list. It's so much better than we had before. Gun commander Vasyl says it's mobile route of danger fast.

ROBERTSON (on camera): So this is your command vehicle.

ARTEM, UKRAINIAN BATTERY COMMANDER: Yes. Oh, my command vehicle.

ROBERTSON: Artem runs the whole battery.

ROBERTSON (on camera): So you can see the whole battlefield here.

ARTEM: Yes. This is the towpath.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): It's all high tech. So where there's a cross here, this is the target.

ARTEM: This started we shoot --

ROBERTSON (on camera): You already should have a target.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): A former math teacher. He had two weeks training on the Krabs.

ARTEM: To learn it and it's very, I would say, it's --

ROBERTSON (on camera): User friendly.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Poland gave Ukraine 18 of the Krab system and they're buying another 56. Two months in service their accuracy making them popular.

ARTEM: So very big difference between is this new guns and Soviet old guns because these guns got the new GPS systems.

ROBERTSON: Each shot a better chance of hitting its target.

ROBERTSON (on camera): These troops are really hoping the Krab system can make a difference. So far this war has been fought mostly by artillery. The Russians massively out gunning the Ukrainians.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): But even with the new guns, there's a problem. Ammunition here is tight.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Do you have enough shells? His answer with a wry smile and chuckle. I'd like to have more rounds to send the occupiers back home.


ROBERTSON: But there's another tough reality here for the Ukrainian forces and that is these weapon systems they're getting don't make an army. We saw troops on the front there with inadequate footwear, with inadequate communication systems. And just joining all of these bits of equipment and men with -- that are coming from different NATO countries, you know, that with the high miles system, with the M777 howitzers really making it a joined up army, that's going to take several years.

HARLOW: It's remarkable to see you in the way we just did, Nic, there on the battlefield and inside with them, thank you to you and your entire team in Kramatorsk, Ukraine.

Coming up, Puerto Rico's coastline is creeping inward as climate change is feeling really devastating beach erosion. The promises from officials in the skepticism from residents, next.



MARQUARDT: Puerto Rico has been plagued by the destructive effects of climate change from hurricanes to extreme heat and now it is facing an emergency when it comes to Coastal erosion.

HARLOW: The islands Climate Change Council is warning these beaches are disappearing at an alarming rate. And residents are becoming skeptical about whether anyone will answer their calls for help. Our correspondent Leyla Santiago has the reporting.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Off the tropical waters of Puerto Rico --

SANTIAGO (on camera): Do you see this as an emergency?


SANTIAGO (voice over): Ernesto Diaz of the Puerto Rico Climate Change Council warns beach erosion is destroying the island of enchantment at an alarming rate. In fact, the very ground we walked on here was gone the next day.

SANTIAGO (on camera): This was all connected. We talked from here to over here with sand underneath our feet. And coastal erosion has taken it away, leaving this house very vulnerable on the beach. And it makes the point that the people of Puerto Rico need something done now.

SANTIAGO (voice over): The local government has deemed this neighborhood an emergency zone for 25 homes because of coastal erosion. It's the latest crisis on an island caught in the crosshairs of climate change, destructive hurricanes, sea level rise, flooding, extreme heat. The results of a planet that is warming.

DIAZ: Small islands, like Puerto Rico, do not need, you know, much of the greenhouse gases that are causing the problem, but we are the first ones that feel the impacts.

SANTIAGO (on camera): Climate change, what does that mean to you?

EDWIN COTO, LOIZA, PUERTO RICO RESIDENT: Well, we believe it because we've seen it.

SANTIAGO (voice over): Edwin Coto lives further east in Loiza town where roughly half of the population lives in poverty according to the U.S. census. He's watched the beaches shrink, the sidewalks crumble in front of the home he's lived in for 60 years because of the coastal erosion.

COTO: One storm it would wipe this road out.

SANTIAGO: Down the street, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently built this rock barrier designed to prevent erosion, but Coto will not benefit from that protection since his house falls just outside the project's boundaries.

SANTIAGO (on camera): So you've had politicians, decision-makers, government officials come here and you've shown them all of this. Do you feel like they --

COTO: We all have shown them.

SANTIAGO: Do you feel like they're listening? COTO: Like I say, they tell you that they're listening, they sound really, really nice, they say a lot of stuff, but don't come up with nothing.

MICHAEL S. REGAN, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: I would say to him that after these conversations I'm going back to Washington, D.C., and my staff will be following up in a matter of weeks.

SANTIAGO (voice over): That's the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Administrator Michael Regan. He visited Puerto Rico as part of his Journey to Justice Tour, an effort to shed light on environmental issues that disproportionately affect people in marginalized communities.

REGAN: I know that these people have faced systemic racism. I know that these people have faced environmental injustice. And I know that we have to do something about it.

SANTIAGO: Part of the solution, he says, resources from the bipartisan infrastructure law, more than $50 billion in funding that can tackle issues like flooding.


But on the island repeatedly battered by climate change, an island where the government said more than half of its beaches are experiencing erosion, even before Hurricane Maria, skepticism remains.

COTO: We want to hear specific, when are you going to do something? When? We don't even care what. When? When are you going to start doing something? Because anything they do is better than nothing.


SANTIAGO: And listen, Edwin expressed frustration with all levels of government. Remember, this is an island with more than 3 million U.S. citizens and for Puerto Rico's part, two years ago, they passed a law that tries to tackle climate change, but I spoke to one University of Puerto Rico researcher who said they got a long ways to go when it comes to implementation. Poppy, Alex.

HARLOW: Leyla Santiago, I could not believe that stand up you, walking, where ground was the day before and it was gone.


HARLOW: It really paints the picture. Thank you for doing that reporting. And thanks to all of you for joining us today. I'm Poppy Harlow.

MARQUARDT: And I'm Alex Marquardt. At This Hour with Kate Baldwin starts after this quick break.