A New York City mother of two could lose custody of her children because she is Catholic and had an abortion after her divorce.
Lisa Mehos, 38, had a first-trimester abortion after divorcing her husband, Manual John Mehos, 59, the wealthy founder and CEO of Houston’s Green Bank, in 2011.
After five years together, the couple is undergoing a heated custody battle for their 6-year-old daughter Macy and 4-year-old son John. Both children were conceived through in-vitro fertilization.
At first, her ex-husband was happy to give her custody, but then she filed charges against him for battery. Lisa claims he gave her a black eye, fractured finger and hematoma.
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John says the black eye was the result of Botox injections, and the Manhattan District Attorney dropped the charge.
Now, John wants the kids back.
Lisa told Salon that her medical records were subpoenaed by John’s attorney, Eleanor Alter, and she wasn’t surprised. She claims John and Alter have been video surveilling her during the custody battle.
What did surprise Lisa was that Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lori Sattler is allowing the abortion evidence into proceedings.
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Lisa says her husband wants to use her abortion to prove that, as a Catholic, she’s dishonest.
“The court jumped at the chance to use the stigma of abortion to openly scorn, interrogate, and question my ability to be a worthy parent,” Lisa said.
About 27 percent of abortions in the U.S. are performed on women who identify as Catholic, according to Prochoice.com.
“I’m divorced,” Lisa told the New York Post. “I’m not Mother Teresa! I feel like I’ve been beaten up and raped.”
The court won’t hear about Manuel’s sexual history, despite the fact that a forensic psychologist testified that he paid for sex at massage parlors.
“I had sex with someone I knew for 20 years, and I’m somehow this terrible, bad parent?” Lisa said.
At one point she asked to have the children so they could spend Easter with her family. Lisa said her husband doesn’t even observe that holiday.
“I never criticized him for being an atheist,” she said. “I simply said, since you don’t celebrate religious holidays, could the children spend Easter with my parents because we do celebrate religious holidays.”
While Lisa claims her ex-husband caused her stress, Alter says the abortion was more traumatic than anything her ex has done.
“This woman has said that the only person who ever harmed her emotionally in her whole life is Mr. Mehos,” Alter said. “I find that hard to believe when you had an abortion, and had a relationship, that was, apparently, a one night stand … all of this it would seem to me goes to the trauma that the children are exposed to, and the chaos that this woman creates in their life because they’re sitting right there watching.”
“I do find it to be relevant,” said Judge Sattler. “The children were in her care at the time. There’s a lot of issues around this time period.”
Lisa currently only sees her children on Monday and alternate weekends.
“It just breaks my heart,” she said. “They’re so confused.”
A final custody decision should be rendered next month.