An appeals court in Florida has stepped into a fight being waged by a mother to prevent the circumcision of her three-year-old son.
Jumping into a fight that so far has pitted the child’s mother, Heather Hironimus of Boynton Beach, against the father, Dennis Nebus of Boca Raton, the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Florida said it was calling a halt to a circumcision plan by a lower court – “pending further order.”
The lower court’s decision had been outlined in a report in the Broward Palm Beach New Times.
The report said Judge Jeff Gillen had affirmed a parenting agreement between the two that allows for the circumcision.
“The court finds that there is no reason why the parties should not be held to the terms of their Agreed Parenting Plan as mandated by this court’s Jan. 6, 2012, final judgment,” the judge said. “The court does not find the mother in contempt at this time; if, however, she fails to comply with this order she will be subject to contempt adjudication…”
The order requires the mother to sign the required “documents” for the circumcision.
She had appealed not only to the court but to the public to halt the plan.
The Times reported that the child is now three, and the mother objected to the procedure because it is “not medically necessary and she did not want to have the parties’ son undergo requisite general anesthesia for fear of death.”
“Putting aside what they agreed to, if you’re going to enforce this contract, you have to look in what is the best interest of the child,” Hironimus’ attorney, Taryn Sinatra, told the Times. “The best interest of the child should always trump” any such agreement, she said.
The attorney noted a urologist recommended against the circumcision because of the boy’s age.
The Times report continued, “However, the judge’s order claims the urologist also testified that ‘penile cancer occurs only in uncircumcised males’ – which is untrue – and ‘uncircumcised males have a higher risk of HIV infection than circumcised males,’ which is debatable.”
The report said circumcision rates have been declining in recent years, after a centuries-long history.
The Times said, “There is evidence that circumcision was performed by ancient Egyptians, and Jews believe that Abraham made a covenant with God, getting long life and fertility if he agreed that all his male descendents would be cut. In the 1800s, circumcision grew popular as a supposed cure for masturbation, and the procedure was popularized in America as hospital births became the norm after World War II, but rates have been steadily declining in the past decade. In Europe, circumcision is considered barbaric and generally not practiced.”
The mother created a “Go Fund Me” page to raise support for her fight, where more than $5,000 already had been designated.
On that page, the mother admits signing the agreement, but says it was a mistake.
“Yes, I did ‘stupidly’ sign into the custody papers that I agreed to it. Unfortunately at that time I was not educated on circumcision. I was always led to believe that being circumcised was the right decision for my son and that it was the ‘normal’ thing to do. Chase and I were lucky enough that I had friends step in and educate me and allow me to see the bigger picture. When we know better, we do better. If anyone should be punished for my mistake in allowing that to be in there, it should be me … NOT MY SON!”