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Mother launches online campaign to defend 3-year-old son from circumcision

Published time: May 16, 2014 17:47
AFP Photo / noel Celis

AFP Photo / noel Celis

A Florida woman has successfully convinced a state appeals court to stop the father of her three-year-old son from having their child circumcised.

The Court of Appeals for Florida’s fourth district this week granted a request made by the boy’s mother, Heather Hironimus of Boynton Beach, in which she asked for justices to stay an earlier ruling ordering her son to be circumcised.

Hironimus and the boy’s father, Dennis Nebus of Boca Raton, had the child in October 2010 and more than a year later entered into a legally-binding parenting agreement; Hironimus and Nebus never married.

A provision included in that contract referenced in recent court proceedings affirmed that Nebus was responsible for scheduling and taking their son to be circumcised, and would pay for any and all costs associated with the procedure. Hironimus, the contract continued, agreed to “timely execute any and all documents reasonably necessary to effectuate the circumcision” of the child.

According to a court order issued earlier this month, Hironimus claimed in recent testimony that she believes the procedure is not medically necessary and that her son risks dying as a result of the general anesthesia used. The court said, however, that the mother “expressed no other reason for now objecting to the procedure to which she’d already agreed,” and on May 9 ruled “there is no reason why the parties should not be held to the terms of their Agreed Parenting Plan.” Hironimus was in turn told that she could be held in contempt for not allowing Nebus to arrange for the procedure.

Order Enforcing Final Judgment

"My client's position is he's 3-and-a-half," attorney Taryn G. Sinatra told the court, according to Local10.com. "There's no medical reason to do it."

One day after the court gave Nebus the go ahead, however, Hironimus made a passionate plea for help on an online crowdfunding site where she hosted a campaign titled, aptly, “Save My Son from Circumcision.”

“My son is currently being court ordered to undergo a medically unnecessary cosmetic circumcision because that is what his dad wants,” she wrote, adding that the ruling was made by a judge she claims to be “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 three-and-a-half 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,” Hironimus added on her GoFundMe page.

Nevertheless, Hironimus acknowledged that she had, in fact, signed a legal document approving the procedure — something she said she blamed on ignorance with regards to circumcision.

“Unfortunately at that time I was not educated on circumcisions. 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,” she wrote.

Her plea apparently attracted the support of other “intactavists,” or people who oppose such procedures — in six days, the Save My Son from Circumcision campaigned raised over $5,000, and now she plans on using that money to defend her son’s foreskin before an appellate court since Tuesday’s order only stays the earlier ruling approving the father’s plans “pending further order.”

In 2011, an effort to ban circumcision in California led by other intactavists almost landed the measure on the ballot, and a San Diego activist and artist made waves for the movement by releasing a web comic called Foreskin Man. Publication of that comic, however, caused an outcry among the state’s Jewish population, including by some who went as far as to call the comic “disgusting.” Before the bill was aborted, California Jews and Muslims alike waged a campaign to keep a circumcision ban from being enacted.

"As Jews, we take the threat of banning circumcision personally,” Jeremy Benjamin, who sued the state to keep the ban from materializing, said in 2011. “This measure singles us out, along with the Muslim community, as illegitimate and unwanted in our own city."

Order Granting Emergency Motion for Review