If a woman has had an abortion, does that means she’s unfit for custody of her two children? That is what the lawyer for a high-powered investment banker appears to be arguing as she defends her client in family court.
Manuel (John) Mehos, a Houston banking bigwig, divorced Lisa Mehos after six years of marriage in October 2011. Now he has subpoenaed his ex-wife’s medical records and his lawyer wants her abortion to be used as evidence in a custody hearing. Lisa Mehos’ unplanned pregnancy was reportedly the result of a “one-time fling with a longtime friend”; she had the abortion over Easter weekend in 2012 while her mother babysat the kids and would not allow her ex-husband to watch them because it was Easter he was an “atheist.” John Mehos’ lawyer claims all this stuff about the abortion is pertinent because Lisa Mehos has said her ex-husband caused stress in her life, but the court should know she may also have been stressed by having an abortion.
Oh sure. I’m sure the stigma against women who terminate pregnancies — they’re selfish, they’re immoral, they’re slutty, they’re unfit mothers — has nothing to do with why this might come up in a custody hearing.
I’m not equipped to parse through the “he said, she said” pettiness that arises when during a messy breakup. That’s the judge’s job — and it’s galling this judge (in New York City, of all places) would grant the request for a past abortion to be used as evidence. Even more galling is that the judge will allow Lisa Mehos to be questioned about it.Isn’t there such a thing as medical privacy? I’m not even quite clear why John Mehos was able to subpoena his ex-wife’s medical records in the first place.
“This [decision by the judge] might go over well in Texas or Mississippi, but not here,” said Lisa Mehos’ lawyer, Emily Jane Goodman, as reported by the New York Daily News. “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.”
I cynically have to wonder if John Mehos is fighting dirty as retribution: he was arrested earlier this year for allegedly hitting Lisa Mehos in front of the couple’s children, giving her a black eye. He claimed she got her eye was injured by a faulty Botox injection. The criminal charges were eventually dropped.
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