That being said, I am outraged. "It is the policy of the state [Washington] that you cannot dissolve a marriage when one of the parties is pregnant," said Spokane County Superior Court Judge Paul Bastine, denying a divorce to a woman whose husband beats her.
"I'm devastated," said Shawna Hughes, 27, a medical assistant who is just over seven months pregnant. Her ex-husband Carlos Hughes "is very, very violent," she said.
This is not just wrong, but abhorrent; I understand that the state has a responsibility to safeguard the lives of children and provide for their care -- state officials had stated their worries that the divorce would leave no father financially responsible for the child -- but I don't see how being born to an alleged wife-beater will improve the baby's start in life.
"If this court vacates my divorce and requires me to stay married to a man I have no desire to ever have a relationship with and who has brought significant physical harm to me over the years I would be emotionally devastated," she wrote. "If this court vacates my divorce and stays it until the birth of my child, it will prevent me from marrying the father of my child prior to her birth."
Now here are the difficult details:
Her husband is in jail.[Link]
She has a boyfriend.
Her boyfriend is also in jail.
I really should add a few comments to this, I realize. Here's why this is a problem: limiting the rights of women due to pregnancy is unacceptable. We should not write them out of the Bill of Rights while gestating, and to do so would undermine the very essence of equal opportunity and equal rights for men and women. This is not just a slippery slope; it is a slippery slope above a bottomless pit, a pit in which women are subjugated to the wills of their husbands (even when those husbands beat their wives) -- has anyone else read Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale? (It's great, and a must-read -- and it shows exactly what will happen if this judge has his way.)