Condemn Attorney for Using Abortion in Custody Case

pro choice

Target: New York divorce attorney Eleanor Alter

Goal: Urge lawyer to apologize for making a public spectacle of the personal choice to have an abortion.

Many divorces result in custody battles, and the situation of high-profile ex-couple Lisa and Manuel Mehos is no different. What makes this situation extraordinary is the attack on women’s rights that a judge allowed to take place in a Manhattan courtroom. When Eleanor Alter, attorney for Manuel Mehos, subpoenaed Lisa Mehos’ medical records and found out her client’s ex-wife had an abortion during the long divorce process, she decided this very personal information was relevant to the custody case in which the Mehoses are entrenched. According to the New York Daily News, Alter argued in court that “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.” If Alter had done her homework she would know that “90 percent of women who were able to receive an abortion when they wanted one reported feelings of relief a week after.” As if that wasn’t bad enough, she went on to call Ms. Mehos a hypocrite, saying that 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.”

She seemed convinced that Ms. Mehos had a man over to her apartment while her children were in her care, and managed to convince Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lori Sattler, despite the protestations of Emily Jane Goodman, Ms. Mehos’s lawyer. Goodman noted that “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,” but the judge agreed with Alter merely because Ms. Mehos had testified that she never had any other men in her apartment. This assumes that Ms. Mehos would have pursued another man in the presence of her children, and implies that she sought out an abortion while they were in her care. Alter inherently called Lisa Mehos irresponsible and a bad mother, because she made a private decision about what was best for herself during an already difficult time in her life. Not only did she make a slew of assumptions about Ms. Mehos and mothers who have abortions, Alter also made a spectacle of the most personal decision a woman can make about her body. This creates a dangerous precedent for further denial of women’s rights.

By signing this petition, you are calling on Eleanor Alter to withdraw the line of questioning that involves Ms. Mehos’s personal decision to have an abortion. You are urging Alter to apologize for attacking Ms. Mehos, and for calling her a hypocrite and a bad mother.


Dear Eleanor Alter,

I am appalled at the fact that you used Lisa Mehos’ entirely personal and private decision to pursue an abortion to attack her as a bad mother in the custody case between her and your client. This represents a new low for divorce attorneys, especially because you pretend to empathize with Ms. Mehos’ decision, calling it a stressful decision when in reality the large majority of women who are able to have an abortion when they want one find themselves immensely relieved. This is precisely because these women want to be good mothers, and recognize that, for whatever reason, they cannot provide the proper care for their fetus.

I urge you to withdraw your attack on Lisa Mehos, and to apologize for calling her a poor mother and a hypocrite. Your recent actions represent yet another jab at women’s reproductive rights, and are detrimental to the empowerment of women.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: El Perroflauta Digital via Wikimedia Commons

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150 Signatures

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