A Florida mom who fled after signing a circumcision agreement with her husband has been held in contempt. Heather Hironimus faces a jail sentence if she does not appear in court with her 4-year-old son. Additionally, she must consent to have the child circumcised, according to an ABC News report.
Hironimus, a Boynton Beach resident, has until 2 p.m. Tuesday to report to a Delray Beach court room to face a judge and consent to have the procedure performed. Friday, the woman was a no-show at a scheduled hearing on the matter. Apparently, she fled to avoid the circumcision of her son from being carried out.
Circuit Judge Jeffrey Gillen admonished the torn mother who has become the de facto face of anti-paternalism of the courts and bureaucracies. Her charge is that entities do not have the right to impose their will on personal matters involving parenting.
Records show that the Florida mother entered into an agreement with her husband around the time of the child’s birth, but backed out. It soon led to a prolonged court battle and one that bled into the public’s eye when activist groups learned about the impasse. And then the woman fled with her son.
Judge Gillen spoke out vehemently against the woman’s actions. He accused her of making a mockery of the system and exploiting her son in the court of public opinion. Moreover, he called her behavior “reprehensible” and accused her of “making him an object of curiosity and worse.”
“This child has been placed in a light that provides much too much scrutiny for a little boy. I blame no one but the mother for that.”
“Intactivists” lauded the woman for fleeing. They call circumcision (removing of the foreskin of a boy’s genitalia) an act of barbarism. A growing number of Americans agree. Most recently, New Yorkers spoke out harshly against an ages-old Jewish act of circumcising a boy at birth — a tradition known as metzizah b’peh.
Essentially, the procedure to remove the excess skin is identical to conventional medicine among Westerners. However, conservative Jews in New York are under fire for a controversial procedure to stop the bleeding. An elder or rabbi uses his mouth to suction away the blood after the surgery as part of the circumcision ritual. However, a recent rise in herpes simplex virus Type 1 (or HSV-1) cases in infants are linked to a New York elder or mohel.
Hironimus’ husband, Dennis Nebus of Boca Raton, petitioned the courts to sanction the woman for fleeing with their child. The Court of Appeals agreed and issued the order for the woman to appear or face jail. The mom thinks the procedure comes with risks. However, Nebus thinks circumcision is a normal thing to do.
“She’s willing to flee with him and plaster him all over the Internet and do anything she can. She’s stated that she’s going to do everything that she can to stop it.”
Expert opinions are mixed on the risk versus reward of circumcising a child. On the one hand, doctors claim the procedure is not necessary; it puts a child through unnecessary stress at birth. They suggest a plan of hygiene instead of going under the knife.
On the other hand, the Centers For Disease and Prevention (CDC) says the benefits far outweigh the risks. They say the removal of foreskin lessens cases of HPV infections, penile cancer, urinary tract infections and STDs.
Was the woman right to have fled and backed out of the circumcision order?
[Photo by: Muhannad Fala’ah/Getty Images]