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Is J.J. Redick's Alleged Abortion Contract Legal?

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By Brett Snider, Esq. on July 26, 2013 12:03 PM

Los Angeles Clippers player J.J. Redick allegedly signed an "abortion contract" with his former girlfriend, although it is doubtful that such a contract would be legally enforceable.

In a document leaked by website MediaTakeOut, there appears to be an agreement between Redick and Vanessa Lopez, in which Redick would agree to remain with his then-pregnant girlfriend for a year in exchange for her providing proof that she'd terminated her pregnancy, reports The Huffington Post.

Can an abortion contract like this even legally exist?

Terms of the Alleged Contract

The alleged 2007 agreement between the NBA player and Lopez was posted Tuesday by MediaTakeOut. The purported contract appears to lay out four scenarios for Lopez and Redick:

  1. Lopez shows proof of an abortion. If this happens, then she and Redick "shall attempt to establish and maintain a social and/or dating relationship" for one year.
  2. Lopez doesn't show proof of her abortion. If this happens, then there are no obligations for either party.
  3. Lopez shows proof of an abortion, but Redick breaks up with her before a year. If this happens, then Redick would owe Lopez $25,000.
  4. Lopez shows proof of an abortion, but she breaks up with Redick before a year. If this happens, then Redick would not have to pay Lopez a dime.

This seemingly ludicrous agreement to exchange proof of abortion for continuing a relationship was signed and followed through by Lopez, who terminated her pregnancy in September 2007, shortly after signing the agreement, reports Deadspin.

Legal Obligations in Contracts

Most contracts are legally considered to be bilateral contracts -- a mutual exchange of promises, in writing, between two parties that amounts to a legally binding agreement.

On its face, the contract between Redick and Lopez appears to be just that: Redick promising to maintain a social relationship with Lopez for one year in exchange for Lopez providing proof that she'd terminated her pregnancy.

However, a contract is not enforceable if one or both of the promises exchanged is either illegal or illusory.

Relationship Obligation Is Illusory, Vague

The major legal problem with an abortion contract like this, aside from the public policy concerns about paying women to terminate their pregnancies, is that the promise to stay in a relationship for a year is arguably an illusory promise.

Under the terms of the agreement, it explicitly states that Redick and Lopez "recognize that it is impossible for either party to promise... that the [r]elationship can be established" or even "maintained for any specific period of time." That seems to take all the binding obligation out of the promise whatsoever.

Even if one assumed that the promise was real and binding, "maintaining a social and/or dating relationship" is left undefined, and is arguably so vague as to be unenforceable.

It is unclear whether all abortion agreements are unenforceable, but J.J. Redick's alleged contract seems so full of problems it would likely not stand up in court.

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