Florida Mom Fights Court Order to Circumcise Her 3-Year-Old Son
Photo by Deirdra Funcheon
Update, 11 a.m.: The appeals court has granted the emergency order. A copy of the ruling is posted below.
A Florida mother is hoping the Fourth District Court of Appeals will intervene and stop a court order that her 3-year-old son be circumcised.
Heather Hironimus of Boynton Beach and Dennis Nebus of Boca Raton had a child together in 2010 and entered into a parenting agreement more than a year later. The agreement clearly stated that the father would be responsible for scheduling and paying for the boy's circumcision.
But now that the boy is 3 and has not yet been circumcised, the mother objects, because, as court documents explain it, the procedure is "not medically necessary and she did not want to have the parties' son undergo requisite general anesthesia for fear of death."
However, Judge Jeffrey Gillen last week ordered that there's no reason the parties shouldn't abide by the parenting agreement and that the father can go ahead and schedule the procedure.
"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," says Hironimus' attorney, Taryn Sinatra. "The best interest of the child should always trump" any such agreement, she said.
Sinatra says that a pediatric urologist testified at a hearing and was asked what he would do in such a situation, and the urologist said he would not circumcise the boy at this age.
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.
Hironimus' case has drawn support from anticircumcision activists around the country who argue that the foreskin is a useful part of the human body and that men should decide for themselves whether to circumcise when they are old enough to research it for themselves and consent.