Category Archives: Florida

Arrested for refusing to hand out her child to circumcision

Heather Hironimus, the mother who has been resisting for over one year the order to hand out her child to circumcision, was arrested yesterday at the Domestic Violence shelter where she had been hiding for 81 days. Her son has been handed to the father, Dennis Nebus, who has been fighting to have him circumcised in spite of the doctor’s assessment that there is no medical need for this child to be circumcised.

A Federal case was recently filed by Heather’s attorney against the father of the child, Dennis Nebus, the judge, Jeffrey Dana Gillen, and Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw., arguing that Chase’s constitutional rights have been ignored and are being violated.

Update: Federal Judge Kenneth Marra has scheduled a hearing on all the motions for Monday, May 18th, at 1 pm

Let’s remember that Chase is the vulnerable party in this issue, and the one person who has not been heard at all in the legal proceedings so far.

Heather and Chase still need our help. Please donate to the legal fund at http://www.chasesguardians.org

A candle light vigil is planned for tonight. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1579051002367331/

A protest is planned for Monday: https://www.facebook.com/events/1604629103155556/

More information about these disheartening developments:

http://joseph4gi.blogspot.com/2015/05/florida-circumcision-saga-mother.html

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-heather-hironimus-booked-bso-20150514-story.html

http://www.cbs12.com/news/top-stories/stories/mom-circumcision-fight-found-jailed-25805.shtml?wap=0

Our first post about this case, May 12th of last year: http://circwatch.org/judge-keep-your-hands-off-my-penis/

Save Chase from circumcision10422589_958968230791362_4845871940582037023_n

Dennis Nebus - the father of the child, says circumcision is "the normal thing to do".

Dennis Nebus – the father of the child, says circumcision is “the normal thing to do”.

Judge Jeffrey Dana Guillen has played doctor through the legal proceedings, touting the benefits of the procedure, dismissing the risks, dismissing Heather's fears and Chase's wishes, and ignoring the expert testimony that the circumcision is not medically necessary and the doctor himself wouldn't circumcise a son at that age.

Judge Jeffrey Dana Gillen has played doctor through the legal proceedings, touting the benefits of circumcision, dismissing the risks, stating that it can be done with local anesthesia (all real doctors will disagree) dismissing Heather’s fears and Chase’s wishes, and ignoring the expert testimony that indicated that the circumcision is not medically necessary in this case and the doctor himself wouldn’t circumcise a son at that age.

The new lawyer for Dennis Nebus, in his response to the federal lawsuit, called Heather a fugitive and a mentally unstable person. He argues that Chase is "looser" to the state court case, and simultaneously argues that the state court found that the circumcision is in the child's best interest (something that is not written in the ruling of the state court ruling). Both statements cannot be true at the same time. He also argues that the best interest of the child cannot be violated by the circumcision since all parties and the judge had his best interest in mind through the proceeding. There is little doubt that this lawyer has a cultural, if not religious, bias for circumcision.

The new lawyer for Dennis Nebus, Ira Marcus, in his response to the federal lawsuit, called Heather a fugitive and a mentally unstable person. He argues that Chase is “loser” to the state court case, and simultaneously argues that the state court found that the circumcision is in the child’s best interest (something that is not written in the ruling of the state court ruling). Both statements cannot be true at the same time. He also argues that the best interest of the child cannot be violated by the circumcision since all parties and the judge had his best interest in mind through the proceeding. There is little doubt that this lawyer has a cultural, if not religious, bias for circumcision.

 

Circumcision in Florida, arrest if you do, arrest if you don’t

We have recently mentioned the case of a South Florida mother who is hiding in a domestic violence shelter to protect her 4 year old son from a judge mandated circumcision, over a parental agreement signed during the first year of life of her child.

As reported by the Sun Sentinel on March 10th, in spite of knowing that the child has no medical need for circumcision, Judge Jeffrey Dana Gillen “mentioned [the] benefits [...], and called the procedure “very, very safe.”

Judge Gillen

“Circumcision is very, very safe” ~ Judge Jeffrey Dana Gillen

The Sun Sentinel also reports that Judge Gillen said “I will allow her to avoid incarceration or get out of jail if she signs the consent to the procedure” .

Just a few days later, March 25, another Floridian mother, this one in Seminole County, did subject her baby to a “routine procedure” and allowed the baby to bleed for hours before seeking help (the specific procedure is not named but there is no doubt about what routine procedure can cause a male baby to bleed from his genitals).

After obtaining help, the mother was asked to follow up the next day, but she failed to show up. Did she have any reasons to trust the doctors after almost losing her baby?

The mother was arrested on charges of child neglect.

There is no doubt that her child was in danger of dying. However, was she expected to act differently?

We looked at a few discharge instructions sheets. One from Seattle Children’s Hospital indicates: “If bleeding occurs, apply constant, gentle pressure with a gauze pad to the penis for five minutes” and instructs to call the doctor when there is “Bleeding that cannot be stopped after five minutes of pressure has been applied”.

The University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital instructs that “The penis will swell a little, or it may bleed a little around the incision” and to call the health provider if there is “Bleeding that isn’t stopped by applying gentle pressure

One from Memorial Childbirth Center, from the Beacon Health System, indicates that “The most common complication is bleeding. In most cases bleeding is controlled by direct pressure. Use a gauze wrap and squeeze the area of bleeding for three minutes. If bleeding stops, leave the gauze in place. If it doesn’t stop, apply pressure again. In cases of continued fresh bleeding, please call the baby’s doctor for further instructions“.

Well, that’s the procedure that Judge Gillen calls “very, very safe“. Apparently one of the new risks of circumcision is that it can land you in jail, at least if you live in Florida. Now, according to the CDC, the risks for children over the age of 1 are 20 times greater than for neonates. So perhaps Judge Gillen should reconsider his own medical beliefs.

Diaper from a baby bleeding abnormally after circumcision

Diaper from a baby bleeding abnormally after circumcision

Florida: Nebus tries to prohibit Hironimus from using funds

Why a mother has to hide in a domestic violence shelter to protect her son from an unnecessary genital surgery?

Why is a father so obsessed with the idea of circumcising his child?

Why is a judge so culturally biased that he fails to see the child as a human being?

Will the court prohibit the mother from using funds collected by those who want to help her protect her child?

To donate to Chase’s Guardians (funds to help the legal case to protect Chase), go to: http://chasesguardians.org/

11084296_10153235363221388_4999400787128926774_n(1)

This is Dennis Nebus, a man who apparently has nothing else to do than to think how to get the foreskin of his child amputated.

nebusDennis, please think how your child feels hiding in a domestic violence shelter… because of you!

You may not realize it, but circumcision is act of violence. One that was committed on your body, and which you seem to think “it’s normal” to repeat on your child.

Dennis, there are far more important things to parenting than altering your child’s genitalia. All this time, all these emotions, all that money, could have been better used in bonding with your son, building a future for him.

There is still time to realize that this is a ridiculous fight over something that does not concern you. Over something that only concerns your child.

Man up! It’s not your body. Respect your child and respect his body.

#SavingChase

Judge Gillen says fears ‘irrelevant at this point’, but were they ever relevant?

According to Palm Beach Post

Heather Hironimus and her 4-year-old son have sought refuge at a domestic violence shelter in an undisclosed location, her attorney said. She fears for her son’s psychological well-being and wants an attorney appointed to represent him before he can have the operation the child’s father is pushing him to have, attorney Thomas Hunker said.

 Judge Jeffrey Gillen cut Hunker off, calling Hironimus’s fears and concerns irrelevant at this point.

Truth is, if you remember the beginning of the case, Judge Gillen has always considered Heather’s fears irrelevant. Let’s take a look at the ruling from last year, dated March 25th.

In this ruling it was said that Heather “asserted, in essence, that circumcision was not medically necessary and she did not want to have the parties’ son undergo requisite general anesthesia for fear of death. She expressed no other reason for now objecting to the procedure to which she’d already agreed in the parenting plan”

hh1

Following these paragraphs, there are some partially false and/or irrelevant arguments from the pediatrician acting as expert witness, Charles Flack, following which “the Court finds that there is no reason why the parties should not be held to the terms of their Agreed Parenting Plan”.

hh2

So, almost a year ago, Heather’s fears were summarily dismissed without response. And today, 350 days afterwards, the judge now says that her fears and concerns are “irrelevant at this point”.

Were they relevant a year ago Judge Gillen?

Is the life, well being and best interest of 4 year old Chase*, “irrelevant at this point”, Judge Gillen?

Did you forget that at the center of this controversy you don’t have a piece of property, nor a head of livestock, but a very alive and aware human being, Judge Gillen?

Would Judge Gillen say that no children have died during a circumcision due to the use of general anesthesia? It happened in Brooklyn just 4 years ago. Jamaal Coleson, 2 years old, died after a circumcision due to the improper use of anesthesia.

Circumcision can have negative psychological effects, and this is more noticeable in those circumcised as children or adolescents, as they can perceive the procedure as abuse, punishment, and loss of control over their own bodies. We also recommend reading the 1999 Preliminary Survey of men circumcised in infancy or childhood – originally published in the British Journal of Urology BJU.

Denial of harm caused by circumcision is a clear display of cultural bias for the procedure. Judge Gillen needs to reconsider his position on this topic.

* We will not stop using Chase’s name, as people need to remember that we are not talking about property but about a real human being whose human rights, preferences, body and health are at stake in the hands of Judge Gillen.

#SavingChase

Nebus vs Hironimus: Arrest warrant

Judge Jeffrey Dana Gillen has entered an order of attachment (arrest warrant) in the case of Dennis Nebus vs. Heather Hironimus, in the dispute over the unnecessary circumcision of a 4 year old child.

The circumstances have changed considerably since the time when Hironimus signed the parental agreement, stating that Nebus would schedule and pay for the circumcision. At that time, Chase was about 1 year of age. Nebus then did nothing for a while, and by the time he wanted to do something, Hironimus had been educated on the subject, realizing that she was not properly informed of what a circumcision entailed when she signed the agreement, and stated that she had changed her mind and did not want her son to undergo the procedure with the additional risk of general anesthesia.

How far does a mother have to go in order to protect her son from an unnecessary amputation of normal healthy genital tissue?

Why is Dennis Nebus so adamant about submitting his son to an unnecessary surgery?

nebus

Why does Judge Gillen fail to see Chase as a human being?

Judge Gillen has stated incomplete facts about circumcision during this trial.

Judge Gillen

What should we call two men who conspire to wound the body of a child?

Where do you go when your own government fails to protect you?

Dr. Charles E. Flack – the expert witness in the case of Chase

Important: the fundraiser page moved to http://www.savingchase.org

The hearings for the case of Nibus vs. Hironimus took place between March of 2014 to May of 2014. During these hearings, Pediatric Urologist Charles Flack “testified by telephone upon agreement of the parties’ lawyers even though no notary was present with him to verify the Court’s administration of the oath“.

Dr Charles E. Flack

Dr Charles E. Flack
Office Location
10301 Hagen Ranch Rd
Suite C130
Boynton Beach, FL 33437
Contact
Phone: (561) 736-7313
Fax: (561) 736-2309

According to inside sources, Dr. Flack could be the pediatric urologist of choice by the father to perform the circumcision. If that is the case, it must be noted that there would be a conflict of interests as Dr. Flack would stand to profit from a ruling in favor of the father (and from performing an unnecessary surgery on a minor).

According to the order of May 9th, “while Dr. Flack did opine that the procedure was not medically necessary, significantly, he advised the Court and the parties that penile cancer occurs only in uncircumcised males and uncircumcised males have a higher risk of HIV infection than circumcised males. He further testified that the procedure last only 17 minutes and patients experience little post-operative discomfort and few recovery problems. Finally, he testified that performing the procedure on boys up to 10 years of age is medically acceptable, the concern being that with older boys who have reached puberty, an erection could cause tears in the sutures.

Court order from May 2014

Court order from May 2014

Well, let’s see if Dr. Flack’s assertions are supported by current standards of medicine (whether we agree with them or not).

Penile Cancer

Dr Flack: “penile cancer occurs only in uncircumcised male

AAP: “A history of phimosis alone confers a significantly elevated risk of invasive cancer (OR: 11.4). In fact, in men with an intact prepuce and no phimosis, there is a decreased risk of invasive penile cancer (OR: 0.5). When excluding phimosis, the risk disappears [...] The clinical value of the modest risk reduction from circumcision for a rare cancer is difficult to measure against the potential for complications from the procedure.” (AAP Technical Report on Circumcision from August 27th of 2012)

So, penile cancer is a rare disease and it occurs mostly on old men. It is usually associated with HPV and with phimosis during adulthood. HPV infection can occur in any sexually active individual. Adult phimosis can often be treated without circumcision. Penile cancer DOES, in fact, occur on circumcised men.

It would make more sense from a social health point of view to remove the breast buds of girls to reduce the risk of breast cancer, than removing the foreskin as a way to prevent penile cancer.

HIV

Dr Flack: “uncircumcised males have a higher risk of HIV infection

AAP: “40% to 60% for male circumcision in reducing the risk of HIV acquisition among heterosexual males in areas with high HIV prevalence due to heterosexual transmission (ie, Africa). [...] more than 619 000 people in the United States have died of AIDS since the epidemic began.38 In the United States, HIV/AIDS predominantly affects men who have sex with men (MSM), who account for almost two-thirds (61%) of all new infections. Heterosexual exposure accounts for 27% of new HIV infections, and injection drug use accounts for 9% of new HIV cases. In other parts of the world (eg, Africa), heterosexual transmission is far more common.”(AAP Technical Report on Circumcision from August 27th of 2012)

Notice that the text of the ruling does not mention that this “protective effect” is limited to “heterosexual males in areas with high HIV prevalence due to heterosexual transmission”. Given the high rates of circumcision in the United States and the prevalence of the American epidemic of HIV on MSM (men who have sex with men), most of those people who died from AIDS would have been circumcised males.

In 2009, Dr. Ronald Gray, one of the main researchers of circumcision and HIV in Africa and author of some of the studies that found this “consistent” protective effect, said:

“If you were to ask me, should the U.S. be promoting circumcision, my answer would be, ‘no,’ What I do think ought to be the policy is that parents should be informed about the potential protective effects” NYTimes

Studies have failed to find such “protective effect” in the United States due to the different characteristics of the epidemic. Reuters

Complications

Dr. Flack: “patients experience little post-operative discomfort and few recovery problems

AAP: “The true incidence of complications after newborn circumcision is unknown, in part due to differing definitions of “complication” and differing standards for determining the timing of when a complication has occurred (ie, early or late). Adding to the confusion is the comingling of “early” complications, such as bleeding or infection, with “late” complications such as adhesions and meatal stenosis.” (AAP Technical Report on Circumcision from August 27th of 2012)

CDC’s Charbel El Bcheraoui:  the risk of experiencing complications was 20 times higher for boys ages 1 to 9 years. (May 2013)

For an idea of what the complications can be and the different age ranges, see this list at Circleaks and this other list for 2013, at Circwatch.

James R. Robertson, Ed.D., studied the effects of circumcision during childhood. He concluded: “In summary, the 19 letters from men circumcised between ages three and six reveal emotional results in conformity with predicted psychoanalytic consequences for circumcision performed during the phallic stage. These 19 men characteristically feel mutilated, diminished and incomplete. They are preoccupied, if not fixated, with their lost foreskins. They show anger at having been denied the right to choose. When they have attempted to discuss their feelings, they tend to have been met with ridicule, rejection and amusement.” (1989)

Erections

Dr. Flack: “performing the procedure on boys up to 10 years of age is medically acceptable, the concern being that with older boys who have reached puberty, an erection could cause tears in the sutures

NewKidsCenter.com: “Erection is common among infants and toddlers. (…) Often early erections come for no reason at all (…) Erection could also mean that the boy’s bladder is full and he ‘needs to pee’.”

AAP: An old guideline for parents on care of the uncircumcised penis used to say: “The foreskin may retract spontaneously with erections which occur normally from birth on and even occur in fetal life.” This information is no longer available in the current AAP page on care for the uncircumcised penis.

So, evidently, erections can occur at any age and do not make a difference as to whether a male can be circumcised or not. Over a million baby boys are circumcised in the U.S. every year in spite of erections being also present in neonates.

This is not a valid reason to perform the operation before the patient has the age to consent, but perhaps the reason for this artificial age is the legal precedent of Boldt vs. Boldt, in Oregon, which started when a divorced father decided to convert to Judaism and have his (9 year old) son convert and get circumcised, which the child refused. While the process took several years, the court ruled that a parent could not compel a child to get circumcised against his will.

Conclusion

All the points quoted by the Court from Dr. Flack’s testimony are either partially false, or irrelevant. The only fully true statement is that “the procedure was not medically necessary“.

Dr. Flack may have a conflict of interest in his testimony if he is the doctor that the father is depending on to perform the circumcision, and as the person that stands directly to gain financially from a favorable outcome for the boy’s father, he has incentive to withhold information that could dissuade the judge from ruling in the father’s favor. He may even be inclined to misrepresent, even present false information. In essence, his testimony in court may have been no more than a shameless self-advert.

Were Dr. Flack to perform a circumcision on Chase, not only would he have given a misleading, partially false testimony in Court, but he would also be profiting from the results of his testimony and from causing bodily and emotional harm to a child.

#SavingChase – follow up on Judge keep your hands off my penis

Judge Jeffrey Gillen

Judge Jeffrey Gillen

Chase

Chase

In May we shared that a Florida judge had ruled that a mother must submit her 3 and 1/2 year old son to circumcision as required by the father, in spite of the mother’s fear of the risk of death related to general anesthesia, and in spite of admitting that the procedure is not medically necessary.

Back then the mother filed an appeal. Last Thursday, November 6th, the Court of Appeals denied her motion. Chase, now 4 years old, is now running out of time, but the mother continues fighting and the case might have to go all the way to the Supreme Court to protect the physical integrity of her son and his right to bodily integrity and genital autonomy.

You can help in any of these places

Fundraiser:
http://www.youcaring.com/other/saving-chase/259991

Photo and video campaign:
https://www.facebook.com/events/357342571110808/358327774345621

Petition:
http://tinyurl.com/l53w9rp

Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqZFAkBXp5PdpVQ1Rp7cC7A

Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/ChasesGuardians

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/savingchase4

Judge, keep your hands off my penis

Judge Jeffrey Gillen

Judge Jeffrey Gillen

A Florida judge has ruled that a mother must submit her 3 and 1/2 year old son to circumcision as required by the father, in spite of the mother’s fear of the risk of death related to general anesthesia, and in spite of admitting that the procedure is not medically necessary.

Circwatch has compiled lists of documented catastrophic complications of circumcisions during 2013, and prior to 2013 here.

The mother is currently filing an appeal to the ruling and has setup a GoFundMe page to accept donations towards the protection of her son.

It is important to remember that in Israel, a rabbinical court last year ruled that a mother should submit her son to circumcision or be fined US$140 daily, as part of divorce proceedings. The Supreme Court accepted an appeal and the Attorney General has argued that the rabbinical court overstepped its jurisdiction in this case.

There is a legal precedent in the United States, in the case of Boldt vs. Boldt, where a father wanted to have his 9 year old son circumcised as part of his own conversion to Judaism. The son argued that he did not want to be circumcised, did not want to join judaism, and did not want to live with his father. The court finally recognized that the child’s preferences should be considered.

At 3 and 1/2 years of age, the child will remember. Furthermore, he is already aware of his body, so any irreversible decision that is not medically necessary should be consulted with him.

The circumcision status of the judge is of relevance, as men circumcised during the neonatal stage may fail to recognize the loss and harm of circumcision. If the judge is biased towards circumcision, a different judge should take the case.

Courts have a duty to protect those most vulnerable. In this case, the one more vulnerable is not the father, but the child, who will be faced with a painful disfigurement procedure.

Given the potential risks and the harms of circumcision, a court-mandated circumcision is nothing but legally mandated child endangerment. Should anything go wrong, it is not the judge nor the father who will have to live with the consequences.

Circwatch will keep an eye on this proceeding and sincerely hopes that this Floridian court will see the light and leave the child’s genitals alone.

Does your OB/Gyn require a “circumcision deposit”?

Does your OB/Gyn require a “circumcision deposit”?

We were alerted about this (apparently not so new) trend, by a post on The Whole Network:

Fan Question: I am pregnant with my second child and my regular OB (who delivered my daughter) started a new policy that forces patients to pay a “circ deposit” before their first prenatal visit. Apparently this is a growing trend among doctors.. Whether or not you are having a boy or if you want to keep him intact you have to pay and if you don’t use it the money will be refunded after you are discharged from the hospital. I tried fighting it but they told me it won’t be done unless I sign a consent form at the hospital. Since it is a new policy I am worried that the staff at the hospital will see that I paid and do it anyway assuming I wanted it done. I just found out that I am having a boy so I need to decide what to do now. Even though they are promising that I will have a say in the end, it makes me really uncomfortable and I’m not sure how safe my son will really be. I am thinking about switching to a new OB over this but I have medicaid so my options are limited. Would it be worth switching over? I am also not sure how to find an intact friendly OB so i was wondering if you could help point me in the right direction. I didn’t search for a doctor with my daughter because he was my regular GYN. I’m in Melbourne FL. There are no birthing centers around here..

But a quick search for “circumcision deposit” allowed us to find that this has been reported at least since 2009, with questions about the legality and ethical value of this practice. It is likely that this practice will increase as Medicare stops funding newborn circumcision in more states. In this particular case, the original poster is located in Florida, where newborn circumcisions are not covered.

More reports here, here.

Some relevant comments:

I would change doctors immediately, if that is an option.  I would worry that my paying a deposit would be construed as consenting to circumcision and would be afraid that it would be done without my knowledge.

I wonder how many mothers assume they don’t have a choice in the matter because they have to pay for it anyway!

The fact that parents who express their refusal to circumcise, and parents who are expecting girls, are being forced to pay this “deposit”  - even if it’s refunded later or applied to other outstanding balances- is outrageous. This is nothing but a way to reinforce the status quo of newborn circumcision, making it look like the default treatment is circumcision, effectively pushing it onto families from non-circumcising cultures. Forget the multiculturalism, forget the respect for the parents and the child. It’s all about collecting that fee and cutting that foreskin.

Circleaks is interested in exposing this practice and helping bring it to an end. But in order to do so we need your help. Please, help us identify entities and doctors with these policies. Your personal information will be strictly confidential.

Please email circleaks {at} gmail.com