Here's an excellent new (ETA: not new, a reprint, sorry!) writeup by Emily Bazelon at Slate, if anyone's interested. I find this case a little terrifying, and not just for the whole restricting travel of pregnant women thing. For me, the big problem is: childbearing is work — hard, life-threatening work. To have a father opt out and completely refuse to assist with that work, then have a change of heart after the child is born and begin arguing for primary custody* in his home state is completely disregarding the work that the mother has put in. I'm not saying that being the pregnant one counts for everything, but it should count for something. Having both parents be active is a fantastic custody model, but there is also not a one-size-fits-all approach, especially not in cases like this where the father and mother weren't legally bound (or even in a serious relationship).

And then, oh yeah, the "abduction" rhetoric applied to a woman who moved while pregnant. Cool, let's literally treat women as child-vessels, fuck an Ivy League education!

A potential finding for Miller in this case worries me. It seems to swing the father's rights pendulum so far that a guy can vanish for the most taxing/dangerous part of child-getting (pregnancy and birth) then swoop in and, with enough resources (money, power), claim that his living circumstances are what's "best for the child." Seriously, one of Bode's first quotes about the case is that his multi-bedroom home in a "gated community" = a better environment for the child.

ETA: One more thought/clarification: there are absolutely cases where it's more appropriate for a father to have custody. I am not arguing with that premise at all; my discussion here is restricted to cases like this, where a father who isn't married or otherwise attached to the mother is fighting for primary custody in circumstances where he did not provide support or show interest during the pregnancy (for the sake of clarity, let's assume reasonable parenting capability on both sides for the moment). I think of it like this: babies don't come from thin air, and we can't pretend they do. They come from combined genetic material, yes, but then they gestate and eventually emerge from women's bodies. This means that a mother, by carrying a pregnancy to term, is de facto showing commitment to the future child. A father cannot possibly support the future child at the same level, but he can be supportive during the pregnancy. This would also demonstrate commitment to the interests of the child. By allowing a narrative in which Miller can argue that his living arrangement (house, non-working wife) is by default the "best" for the child, he essentially gets to elide his non-support of the actual pregnancy AND, more importantly I think, the work that McKenna put in.

*I am absolutely not arguing that there should be no custody agreement or visitation — it's the move for primary custody that I find completely inappropriate.