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Have an Abortion, Lose Custody of Your Children

Have an Abortion, Lose Custody of Your Children

Divorce is often ugly, especially when the couple have children to parent. However, one custody fight in New York recently went beyond the pale in terms of viciousness when the man’s lawyer demanded that his ex-wife be questioned about an abortion she underwent and how it could have affected her ability to raise her children.

According to the New York Daily News, Eleanor Alter, the divorce lawyer for Manuel Mehos, obtained medical records from ex-wife Lisa Mehos stating that she had an abortion and asked the judge in the case to allow her to question the woman about the procedure.

The attorney justified the questioning, saying, “[T]his is a woman who complains that she’s under great stress only caused by Mr. Mehos. I would be the first person to acknowledge that having an abortion, especially a two- to three-month late abortion, would be stressful.”

Emily Jane Goodman, Ms. Mehos’ lawyer, found the questioning offensive. “I think the very idea of the potential of using, against a woman in a custody case, the fact that she may have had an abortion sets women’s rights and the rights of choice back in a way that I can’t imagine this court would want to be associated,” she said.

The judge disagreed and allowed Mr. Mehos’s lawyer to question Ms. Mehos about the termination.

Allowing a woman’s abortion to be used in a custody battle, regardless of whether it occurred before or after the divorce, is an absolute new low when it comes to the idea of shaming women for choosing not to carry a pregnancy to term. The idea being presented is simple: A good mother would never seek out an abortion, so if she ends a pregnancy, she must be an unfit one.

According to Guttmacher, over 60 percent of those who have abortions already have children. The idea that every one of them is somehow a bad mother, or should feel as if she were one, is laughable. In fact, many say that it is for their families, and the benefit of the children who they have given birth to and are caring for, that they seek an abortion in the first place.

As Dr. Susan Robinson, one of the providers featured in “After Tiller,” put it in a recent Huffpo Live interview, “People have abortions because they want to be good mothers and they know that they cannot mother this pregnancy adequately.”

With one in three women having an abortion at some point, and 60 percent of those having abortions already having at least one child, that’s a whole lot of women out there to be painted as “bad moms” who shouldn’t be allowed to have custody of their children.

Even worse is lawyer Eleanor Alter’s assumption that Ms. Mehos must be under stress because of having an abortion, because abortions must be inherently stressful. Although abortion opponents have long brought up “post abortion stress syndrome” as an alleged psychiatric trauma disorder that countless patients experience after terminating a pregnancy, no legitimate mental health group supports their false claims.

In fact, a recent Berkley study showed that 90 percent of women who were able to receive an abortion when they wanted one reported feelings of relief a week after.

Does abortion cause women to be debilitated by stress? No. Does it cause them to be unfit parents to their children? Absolutely not. Is Mr. Mehos’ lawyer using tired anti-choice rhetoric to try to get her client a win? Yes. What’s even sadder is that the judge is letting her do it, and violating Ms. Mehos’ medical privacy and legal rights in the process.

Abortion, neither long in the past or a more recent one, has no place in a custody battle. Let’s keep it that way.

 

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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367 comments

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4:26PM PST on Nov 30, 2013

ty

3:19PM PST on Nov 13, 2013

:/

5:31PM PDT on Oct 14, 2013

All these people who say abortion is wrong...where are they when that child is forced to be born?? Don't see any of you standing up and saying I'd be glad to raise that child, I'd be happy to pay all those expenses, I'd love that child and make certain he/she wants for nothing. Don't hear from you then do we...couldn't care less if that child is healthy, if that child has a birth defect that will kill it in days, causing such trauma that the family may never recover...nope, don't hear you being so vocal once you've done your dirty work and forced a woman you don't even know to have a child you really do not give a damn about!

IT IS MY BODY - YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO MAKE ANY CHOICES FOR ME! !!!!!!!!

6:47AM PDT on Oct 7, 2013

tyvm...

11:23AM PDT on Oct 6, 2013

This "man" should be ashamed of himself; and so should the judge...
Pathetic...

11:00PM PDT on Oct 5, 2013

Noted.

4:23PM PDT on Oct 5, 2013

A man who uses this means against his wife is an unfit father.
If the men who donated the sperm for the aborted pregnancy were forced to raise the children to age 18 I’ll bet they wouldn’t put up such a stink. And the religious right would be screaming about all the foster kids in the system that were taken away from unfit mothers.
I believe that the soul that was aborted comes back. It's called reincarnation.

12:16PM PDT on Oct 5, 2013

stupid

8:18PM PDT on Oct 4, 2013

I agree with Rainbow about the ego trip thing. Look how many people have kids so they can serve as nothing more than little status symbols with the right schools, clothes, classes etc. They hardly ever see their yuppie demon spawn, so what is the point. Any idiot can have a child, and we've all seen the tragedy of that. In a world which is dangerously overcrowded, I applaud those who take WHATEVER steps they need to not add to their own grief and that of the planet.

6:00AM PDT on Oct 4, 2013

No, Rainbow. As I've said multiple times before I believe a mother's right to abort her own fetus is justifiable homicide, so my feelings don't have to be "assauged" concerning her choice to exercise her basic human rights. My issue is with the concept that abortion is good as a weapon of social policy independent of a woman's right to rid her body of a pregnancy for her own reasons. And since you say you choose to remain alive because the satisfactions you receive from your actions in life make it good enough for you, then perhaps you might consider many of those you'd be so happy to see dead than alive also would have found "enough" in life to make it worth living for them as well.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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