This is a very scary case. One to which we should all be paying attention. I notice, not once has the welfare of the child been mentioned. I wonder if the child has a CASA volunteer or Guardian Ad Litem representing his interests?
It is possible that today’s hearing will take place in front of the same judge that sent McKenna and Miller back to California. Lynn Paltrow of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, voices a serious concern: “Once a referee [the Judge] has [wrongly] decided that a pregnant woman did something ‘irresponsible’ and ‘reprehensible’ by exercising her fundamental constitutional rights, is possible to then fairly decide the custody issues at stake?”
No one is asking this: If Miller wants to see his son more often, and is committed to what is best for him, which he agrees is to spend equal time with both parents, then why doesn’t he move to New York? Because it would hurt his career, threaten his financial security, and probably just bum him out too much? I realize that sounds snide, but that is what he has been trying to force McKenna to do. The idea that she should sacrifice her own education and ambitions were just fine with him, yet the thought that he would do the same strikes many people as laughable. The first New York court ruling smacked, as Roxanne Gay explained so succinctly earlier this year, of “Men wanting what they want…”
For all I know, Bode Miller is a lovely person and a doting father who has struggled with and overcome substance abuse. That’s what we keep hearing, but it’s actually irrelevant in terms of jurisprudence. His actions and the willingness of the courts to entertain his claims over McKenna’s pregnant body far exceed the parameters of his personality or his complicated personal life. Articles that frame the “brutal custody fight” as possibly hurting his Olympic chances, that focus on “this San Diego-based dad’s fight for his son,” and remind people of the value of “a balanced home” are all complicit in a system in which pregnant women are expected to sacrifice themselves, serve the needs of others, and lose their constitutional rights—to freedom, movement, privacy, and autonomy.
What happened to McKenna can happen to any girl or woman who is pregnant. In our society, one in which women’s rights are constantly at risk of being degraded, the significance of even one legal precedent can’t be underestimated. I realize entirely that Us Weekly is not anyone’s reputable, go-to news source. But it is still a source of information. And its readers, like so many millions of others reading similar media, just got a cloying mainstream dose of patriarchal values and “boys will be boys” hero worship, at the expense of girls and women everywhere.
More: Bode Miller Changed His Mind and Hurt Pregnant Women’s Rights Along With It
also see: What men want, America delivers
The United States is supposedly predicated on the notion of inalienable rights but we have ample evidence that the rights of women are and always have been alienable. Robin Thicke sings about what he knows a woman wants. Fine. Daniel Tosh encourages his fans to touch women lightly on the stomach and film themselves doing so. Fine. Ken Hoinsky believes persistence is a virtue. Fine. Texas governor Rick Perry says, of Senator Wendy Davis, “She was the daughter of a single woman. She was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas Senate. It’s just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters.” Fine. In Ohio, any woman seeking an abortion must get an ultrasound. If she has complications from an abortion, she must go to a private rather than public hospital. In North Carolina, pending legislation would require a physician to be in attendance for both medical and surgical abortions. In Texas, if what is now HB2 passes, all but five of the state’s abortion clinics will close. The legislators pushing these initiatives are just looking out for women. Men want to protect women — unless of course, they want to grab those women’s asses.