A Florida court has sided with a father in ordering his healthy three-year-old boy to undergo what his mother calls a “medically unnecessary cosmetic circumcision,” despite his mother’s opposition. Her attorney has succeeded in obtaining a temporary stay on the order so that the decision may be appealed to a higher court.
The little boy was born on Halloween 2010 to Heather Hironimus and Dennis Nebus, who were not, and have never been, married. A year later, reports the Orlando Sentinal, the couple signed a parental agreement to share custody, in which Heather agreed to allow circumcision for their son, a procedure which Dennis would schedule and pay for. Now that the child is three years old, Dennis is trying to enforce the agreement, but Heather no longer wants circumcision for her boy.
Now the disagreement is a court matter.
One issue that Hironimus cites is possible complications from anesthesia, including death. General anesthesia is customarily used when any male other than an infant is circumcised, and that carries with it risks, albeit small, that there may be reactions to the anesthesia. People can, and do, die from anesthesia, like two-year-old Jamaal Coleson, Jr., of Brooklyn who died in 2011 after having anesthesia for a circumcision procedure, according to ABC.
Heather told the Sentinal that she is trying to protect her son, and she and her attorney are fighting the procedure. Because the boy is three and a half, he would know that something is going on, and he would feel pain during recovery. Hironimus’ attorney said that the little boy could also remember the circumcision.
A medical website that advocates circumcision supports those concerns regarding circumcising a toddler. Circinfo says:
“Circumcision later obviously requires a separate (occasionally overnight) visit to hospital. Healing is slower than in newborns, and rate of complications is greater… Pain sometimes can last for days afterwards and those older than 1 to 2 years may remember.”
Dr. David Chamberlain, PhD, has written about the emotional trauma that circumcision can have on babies. If newborns can be thus impacted, how much more will a child be impacted who is old enough to remember going to the hospital for the procedure? The Inquisitr has reported previously on Dr. Chamberlain’s work regarding early traumatic events and their effects.
On the other side is the demand by the boy’s father for his son’s circumcision. Dennis Nebus could not be reached for comment, but Horonimus’ attorney says that there is no record of the request being religious in nature.
There is also no current medical issue with their child that would indicate a medical need for circumcision. Many are wondering why Nebus has waited so long to get the circumcision, a question that has yet to be answered.
Florida Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Gillen has been characterized by Hironimus as a “pro-circumcision judge.” He rordered on March 25 that Nebus could force his son to undergo the circumcision, even though a physician testified to the court, according to Local10, that the surgery was “not medically necessary.”
What is more, included in the court order is a gag order for the mother. The order forbids her to communicate to her own child that she does not want him to go through the circumcision. In effect, the judge is ordering a mother to turn off her heart and every maternal instinct she has about the issue, even if he comes home crying from the procedure or has nightmares or expresses fear or grief afterwards:
“Mother shall not in any way lead (her son) to believe that she is or was opposed to his being circumcised, whether or not she accompanies (her son) to the procedure.”
The order that allows the father to force the circumcision is based on contract law, on the fact that the mother signed a contract with the father. Despite the fact that she has since researched and realized that there are possible complications and risks that she does not want her son unnecessarily subjected to, the judge is enforcing the order for the circumcision.
The mother’s attorney, Taryn Sinatra, rejects that logic: “Putting aside what they agreed to, if you’re going to enforce this contract, you have to look at what is the best interest of the child. The best interest of the child should always trump” any agreement.
Hironimus is fighting back. Her attorney has obtained a stay from the Fourth District Court of Appeals to keep the circumcision from being performed until the appeal. She has also set up a crowdfunding fundraiser to pay for legal costs at gofundme:
“My son is currently being court ordered to undergo a medically unnecessary cosmetic circumcision because that is what his dad wants, and since the judge is also very pro-circumcision. My attorney and I are going to be appealing this decision as neither of us believe it should be a decision left to anyone other than my son, who is 3 1/2 and fully aware. As a stay at home mom, I do not have the funding to be able to fully accomplish this on my own. I am pleading with fellow intactavists, parents and all others to help me save my son, his foreskin, his rights and hopefully other children from allowing the ‘system’ to make these decisions. Please help me help my son!!”
What do you think? Should one parent be allowed to make a medical decision over the wishes of the other parent for a surgical procedure that is not medically necessary? Should a court be allowed to order it? What about the risks, and the effects on the child? Should he be allowed to wait until he is of legal age to decide for himself whether or not he even wants the permanent procedure of circumcision?
[Images via bing]