Mom's Abortion Cited in N.Y. Child Custody Case

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on September 26, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A New York judge has allowed a woman's late-term abortion to be used as evidence against her in a high-profile child custody case.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lori Sattler ruled that Lisa Mehos, the ex-wife of high-powered investment banker Manuel Mehos, would have to testify about having an abortion.

But why is the abortion evidence relevant to the custody case?

Lisa Mehos' Abortion Testimony

Manuel Mehos' lawyer Eleanor Alter (who also represented Mia Farrow in her custody dispute with Woody Allen) learned about the late-term abortion after issuing a subpoena for Lisa's medical records, reports New York Daily News.

Lisa's attorney tried to quash the subpoena for privacy reasons, but to no avail.

The judge ruled the abortion evidence was relevant because the children were in her care at the time she underwent the procedure.

Lisa Mehos, 38, then testified that she became pregnant after a one-time fling with a longtime friend at his place.

During Easter weekend in 2012, she had her mother babysit the kids, then 2 and 4, while she had the abortion. Lisa Mehos said she would not allow her ex-husband to babysit because it was Easter and he was an "atheist."

Relevance to Custody

A parent's habits and willingness to foster the child's relationship with the other parent are factors relevant to custody.

It seems Alter is trying to use the abortion evidence to argue that:

  • Manuel Mehos didn't cause Lisa's household great stress, the abortion did;
  • It was hypocritical for Lisa to keep the kids from her atheist ex during Easter, considering she was getting an abortion at the time; and
  • Lisa may have lied when she testified that she'd never had men over at her house while the children were in her custody (but remember, the fling happened at the guy's house, not hers).

Though these are the purported reasons for bringing up the abortion in court, some suspect an undertone of "shaming" on Alter's part. The general argument: that Lisa Mehos was a bad parent for having sex, getting pregnant and getting an abortion.

But does that make the dad the better parent?

In court, Lisa Mehos also testified that her ex-husband "had tearfully confessed to her that he had cheated on her dozens of times with prostitutes," reports the Daily News.

Needless to say, custody battles are ugly.

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