Lisa Mehos of New York City may lose custody of her children, and not because she's an unfit parent. She's facing separation from her kids because she had an abortion.
Lisa’s ex-husband, Manuel John Mehos, claimed that the abortion speaks to her credibility and ability to parent. According to a Salon story detailing the saga, Manuel claims that she was dishonest because she is Catholic but had an abortion. He believes that having an abortion and having sex outside marriage (Lisa's abortion resulted from an affair) are inherently and invariably traumatic experiences, and that Lisa’s behavior traumatized not only herself but their children. Additionally, Manuel and his attorney are attempting to use the abortion as "proof" that Lisa had an affair while her children were in her custody, which — if true, while not appropriate — still isn't mistreatment.
Despite the claims made by her ex, the court-appointed supervisor who must be present during Lisa’s visitations with her children has consistently reported that Lisa is an excellent mother.
Ugly custody battles, of course, are nothing new. But despite the fact that Manuel sounds like angry, jilted person who is grasping at straws, acting Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lori Sattler agreed to hear testimony about the abortion, deciding it was relevant because Mehos previously testified she never brought men to her New York apartment — a testimony she maintains (she says she left her children with her mother before the encounter in which she got pregnant).
Interestingly, much less has been said about Manuel's penchant for paying for sex.
Lisa’s reasons for ending her pregnancy are personal, but it’s certainly possible she was thinking about her ability to afford another child, as many women do. The two are closely linked: a recent Wall Street Journal story showed that access to family planning programs is linked to higher incomes later in life, and provides more resources for women to invest in their families and their futures.
Lisa’s decision should not be fodder to take her children away from her. This is a case to watch closely — because a ruling against Lisa would be a major step backward in the fight for women to have control over our own bodies, health, and lives.