Pregant woman denied divorce from abuser

So nice to see how compassionate people can be.
A week after Shawnna Hughes was granted a divorce from her abusive husband, a Seattle judge rescinded the order upon finding out that she was pregnant. Huh?
Kind of defies all logic, but here it is:
Superior Court Judge Paul A. Bastine said, “Not only is it the policy of this court, it is the policy of the state that you cannot dissolve a marriage when one of the parties is pregnant.” Um…what if he’s been beating the shit out of her? No? Oh, ok…
Despite Judge Bastine’s contention, other experts say that there is no ban on divorce for pregnant women in Washington or any other state. Curiouser and curiouser.
The ACLU and the Northwest Women’s Law Center are helping Hughes in her appeal. They point out that if the judge’s ruling remains it’s not just discrimination, but it also could “establish a perverse incentive for an abusive husband to get his wife pregnant in order to force her to stay married.” Yikes.
Just in case you still have any question as to what a shithead this judge is:
Further roiling the case, Bastine told Shawnna Hughes that she had forced a prolongation of her marriage on herself with the “intentional act” of getting pregnant.
“You have created the situation by your own actions that delay your opportunity to dissolve your marriage,” he said in the Nov. 4 hearing.

Oh, I see; it’s her fault for getting pregnant! What an asshole.

Join the Conversation

  • NancyP

    The solution is obvious. Abortion. Probably not what the judge had in mind.

  • Anne

    I have always been told that in Ohio you cannot be granted a divorce if the woman is pregnant.

  • Fred Vincy

    The judge’s ruling was wrong under Washington law:

  • Maximus

    The writer states –
    “Oh, I see; it’s her fault for getting pregnant!”
    The inferrence in this context is that the woman had no contribution to becoming pregnant – that she was an innocent party to the sexual act.
    Assuming that the woman in this story wasn’t raped, then surely she is at least a 50%, contributing factor in her own pregnancy.
    Furthermore, being a consenting adult with the free choice to control her own body, mind and spirit, then surely she was 100% the cause of her own pregnancy at the time of conception, because she could have easily said “No”.
    However, in this case, it would seem that she had said “Yes”. So whose “fault” is that?
    This woman is completely responsible for her own pregnancy and it is absolutely no one else’s fault. End of story.

  • Fred Vincy

    Re-read the post. The judge’s point was not that she was responsible for being pregnant in some general sense, but that she was responsible for not being able to get a divorce, when it was his failure to apply the law that was responsible for her not being able to get a divorce.

  • gina

    the husband was abusive. so if she didn’t want to have sex with him, what do you think he would do? back away quietly and say “ok darling, let’s cuddle and talk about feelings?”. no, probably he would have hit her or worse. but perhaps you’re right and she did want to have sex with him because it was one of the few times in that week when he wasn’t verbally assaulting her, threatening her, hitting her and basically scaring the shit out of her. but now she’s pregnant and realizes more than ever that this bastard shouldn’t be within 100 miles of her baby if she wants to protect him/her from the same terror that she lived with everyday.
    in other words: get a fucking clue

  • Jessica

    actually, she got pregnant by her new boyfriend while her husband was in jail…
    but my point was (thanks fred!) that the judge was blaming her for her supposed inability to get a divorce because she got pregnant “on purpose.”

  • Amanda

    Max, your statement makes sense if there was a good reason for women to think that being pregnant meant that they lose all their rights. You know, like as if it were murder or something.
    In this case, it’s like leaving your house and getting run over by a car and being told that it’s your fault for leaving the house.