Banker Manuel (“John”) Mehos and his ex-wife, Lisa Mehos, are in the midst of an ugly custody battle that just got uglier: New York Supreme Court Justice Lori Sattler ruled that evidence of Lisa’s abortion would be permissible as evidence in the case.
“This [decision by the judge] might go over well in Texas or Mississippi, but not here,” said Lisa Mehos’ lawyer, Emily Jane Goodman. “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.”
According to the NY Daily News, the evidence was entered as part of John Mehos’ case for custody because Lisa became pregnant after a one-time fling with a longtime friend. John’s lawyer, Eleanor Alter, argued that the evidence was relevant because Lisa asked to have the kids that weekend — during Easter 2012 — under the guise that John was an atheist and she was a Christian. Meanwhile, Lisa left the kids with a babysitter while she went to have an abortion.
“[At] the time that she told him that he couldn’t have the children for Easter because he was an atheist, she was having an abortion,” Alter said, a court transcript shows. “This 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.”
Apparently, Judge Sattler found Alter’s argument to be quite compelling. She allowed Alter to ask Lisa about her abortion on the record.
“I do find it to be relevant. The children were in her care at the time,” Sattler said.
Women’s rights activists were not happy with Judge Sattler. During the couple’s latest court appearance, women wore “I had an abortion” T-shirts in support of Lisa.
There has not yet been a ruling on who will get custody.