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Circumcision Decision Triggers Legal Battle
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The fight over whether to circumcise a four-year-old boy has sparked controversy nationwide.

Summary: The decision whether or not to circumcise a four-year-old boy has sparked controversy on both sides of the issue.

According to ABC News, a set of Florida parents’ decision regarding the circumcision of their son has exploded into a legal battle, with many calling the procedure “barbaric.”

  
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Heather Hironimus, the mother of the child, is against having her son circumcised. However, Dennis Nebus, the boy’s father, wants his son circumcised. The controversy has resulted in a legal battle, complete with protests and a movement of “intactivists.” The outcry has lasted so long that the boy at the center of the fight is now four years old.

So far, judges have ruled for the father, so a surgery is likely. Though the court has made a decision, protestors in opposition to the procedure are still letting their voices be heard. The procedure is allegedly losing popularity with new parents, although many still choose to have their sons undergo the procedure for religious reasons, cultural reasons, or simply out of habit.

In 2013, a New York judge reduced to block a law that required parental consent before traditional circumcision.

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Thomas Frederiksen, a 39-year-old machinist from Orlando, showed up at a protest to voice his opinion. He commented, “I couldn’t speak when I was cut, but I can speak now.” He appropriately donned an “I (Heart) My Foreskin” t-shirt to the event.

Apparently, Hironimus and Nebus had a short six-month relationship during which Chase, the boy at the center of this fight, was conceived. Nebus sued Hironimus to establish paternity over Chase and to obtain partial custody. The couple hashed out a parenting plan covering everything from his surname, whom he calls “Mommy” or “Daddy,” and now, the state of his penis.



Originally, court documents show that both parents were on board for circumcision. However, Hironimus got cold feet when it was time to schedule the procedure, as she had researched the issue. The battle went from circuit court to the Fourth District Court of Appeals, which upheld a ruling in Nebus’ favor. Although at this point, Hironimus has not filed any new documents, she could ask for a rehearing at the appellate court.

Parents may now be held responsible for their children’s online postings.

Nebus said that circumcision was “just the normal thing to do.” Hironimus argued, “To me, it’s not worth it to put my son’s life at risk for a cosmetic procedure.” According to the New York Daily News, Hironimus is afraid her son will die under anesthesia.

On Christmas Eve, the pair entered an agreement that they would not speak to the press and that they would avoid any other actions that may exploit Chase. Court documents are silent as to whether the procedure is being done for religious reasons.

Most boys still undergo circumcision in the United States. According to a 2013 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 58.3 percent of newborn boys were circumcised in 2010. In 1979, 64.5 percent were circumcised. These numbers excluded those who were circumcised after leaving the hospital.

Recently, an anti-circumcision movement has grown. Chase has become the poster child for their fight: many protestors’ signs have “Don’t Cut Chase’s Penis!,” “Let Chase Keep his Foreskin,” and “Don’t You Dare Circumcise Chase” plastered on them. Needless to say, some passing motorists were baffled at what the signs said, others cheered and honked their horns.

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Jonathan Friedman is a 27-year-old who organized the protest as part of his “Saving Chase” campaign. He traveled from Chicago to Florida for the event, wearing a “Children Never Forget Trauma” shirt. He said that his own circumcision has caused him chafing, bleeding, and painful erections.

According to Friedman, Chase’s age turned out a lot of supporters. He said, “People are not OK with a 4-year-old boy being circumcised—a conscious, articulate boy. That’s just not ok. Not everyone is against circumcisions, but I think everyone is against a 4-year-old’s circumcision.” According to Wikipedia, major health organizations have varying opinions on the procedure.

Handheld devices may cause developmental delays in children.

Just last month, the CDC published a draft of highly anticipated federal guidelines on the procedure. The draft concluded that benefits outweigh any risks involved with the procedure. The report notes that circumcision can reduce a male’s risk of sexually transmitted diseases, urinary tract infections, and even penile cancer.

The group gathered near the medical offices of a pediatric urologist who was examining Chase. This doctor may be selected to perform the procedure. Many present outside the office said that the decision should be Chase’s, and it should be delayed until he is an adult. They cited risks such as psychological damage and loss of sensation.

Jennifer Blanchard, one of the protestors present, said, “They think it’s just a little snip and it’s not. It’s a big deal.”

Source: ABC News

Photo credit: NBC News



 

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