When Chase Nebus-Hironimus was one year old, his parents agreed—in writing—to have him circumcised. But time passed, and the procedure, which has grown increasingly controversial in the United States, was still not performed.
Now the mother says she’d like to keep it that way.
To the courts in Florida, however, the legal agreement between the mother, Heather Hironimus, and the father, Dennis Nebus, is still binding. In May, a court upheld their documented “parenting plan,” which included the provision on circumcision. It noted that the father will be financially and logistically responsible for the procedure, though the mother “can accompany the minor child if she chooses.”
Several days later, Hironimus was granted an emergency motion for review in front of an appellate court.
This month, however, Judge Jeffrey Dana Gillen upheld the original ruling, citing that the mother “expressed no other reason for now objecting to the procedure to which she’d already agreed in the parenting plan.” Additionally, the judge issued a gag order on Hironimus, who had undertaken a diverse social media campaign to build support for her view.
The hashtag #SavingChase has attracted not only the tweeted support of celebrities including Russell Crowe and Colin Farrell, but also supportive op/eds on the Orthodox Jewish website, the Jewish Independent. Hironimus, a stay-at-home mom, had also started a fundraising page to crowdsource the money to pay for her legal fees.
According to the Sentinel, Nebus’s lawyers called the testimony of a pediatric urologist who testified to the medical benefits of circumcision, including that it reduces the risk of HIV infection and penile cancer. Anticircumcision advocates—self-dubbed “intact-avists,” refute these health claims.
Other arguments from the prosecution—that the boy is now four years old and fully sentient, or that the general anesthesia that is now required presents a risk she was not prepared to accept at the time of the parenting agreement—were also dismissed.
Hironimus sympathizers and other anticircumcision advocates were additionally perplexed by the gag order, which not only prevents Hironimus from speaking to the media, but also bars her from ever leading her son “to believe that she is or was opposed to his being circumcised.” In the meantime, abundant evidence of his mother’s anticircumcision campaign still exists on the Internet.