Tuesday, April 21, 2015

FLORIDA UPDATE: 4-yo Circumcision Case Goes Federal

I'd like to apologize to my readers for not being "on the ball" regarding the latest in the ongoing circumcision court battle in Florida. It's already been a few days since the latest developments in the Florida Circumcision Saga, and I'm just barely getting to it. Given my current circumstances, I simply don't have the time to write a fully fleshed post how I'd like to at the moment. This post itself is going to be rather short, as I will only post the most important details and most relevant links.

Cutting to the chase (as it were), here are the details:
  • A dispute between a couple who never married, over whether or not to circumcise their 4-yo son culminated in a lengthy court battle
  • The father claimed rights to have their son circumcised, citing a written agreement signed by both parents
  • Three years later, the mother has come across new and relevant information regarding infant circumcision, has changed her mind, and is fighting to prevent the circumcision of their son
  • The judge in the court battle places the mother at a disadvantage by placing a gag order on her, forbidding her to go to the media and/or seeking necessary funds for legal expenses
  • Invoking the written agreement both parties signed three years ago, the judge dismisses arguments made in the mother's defense
  • The judge sides with the father, going as far as ignoring an amicus curiae filed by other parties wishing to help the mother, even denying an independent guardian to speak for the child
  • The judge gave a specific date on which the mother was to hand over her son so that the father's wishes to have him circumcised could be realized
  • The mother failed to appear in court, instead, seeking asylum at a women's crisis center
  • Angry at the mother for not simply handing in her child for needless surgery, the judge vilifies the mother and signs a warrant for her arrest
  • The desperate father was last cited trying to enter a motion to deny the mother the use of any funds collected for her by others, and making her bear sole responsibility for all legal fees
  • Mother and child remain in hiding, mother fearing arrest, and child fearing impending genital cosmetic surgery to appease his father's wishes

The Plot Thickens
In the latest development, the mother's new attorney has filed a federal civil rights complaint against the father, the judge and the county sheriff's office. The complaint reiterates the fact that the child is not suffering a medical condition that necessitates surgery, and that he has voiced that he doesn't want to be circumcised, and is in constant fear of it. Furthermore, it alleges that is unconstitutional for the judge, sheriff, or anyone to force a healthy, non-consenting 4-year old to undergo needless surgery, as doing so violates the child's rights under the 5th and 14th ammendments of the US Constitution and additional state laws; forcing circumcision on the child in question constitutes assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, and/or child abuse under Florida law.

The federal civil rights complaint names Honorable Jeffrey Gillen and the Palm Beach County Sheriff as defendants, alleging that their "application of Florida law to impose unnecessary, elective, cosmetic circumcision upon [the child in question] at the age of 4 ½ years old for no religious reason," and the judge having denied him a guardian ad litem to advocate for his position in court, "violates [the boy's] fundamental right to privacy and bodily integrity secured by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution", as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Establishment and Free Exercise of Religion Clauses of the First Amendment.

That is all I have for this post.

The civil rights complaint can be accessed via PDF here.

May this poor child be protected from needless surgery, and may those responsible for antagonizing his mother and threatening him with needless surgery face due justice.

UPDATE 4/22/2015
After publishing this post, a very reliable source who is in the know has informed me that the child's father has yet to be served with the court papers, and has been hiding from the court process servers since the federal civil rights complaint was filed last week. I feel the irony of the father going into hiding was too good to pass up.

You can help this child and his mother
As far as your author knows, it is still possible to help this mother financially. You can donate to Doctors Opposing Circumcision via PayPal and include the words "Chase's legal fund" in the note to earmark the donation for the mother's attorney, or visit the webpage for the fundraiser being administered by Doctors Opposing Circumcision, at http://chasesguardians.org.

Previous Posts:
FLORIDA UPDATE: Father Intent on Circumcising 4-yo Son Seeks to Legally Paralyze Mother

FLORIDA UPDATE: Mother in Circumcision Dispute Fails to Appear in Court - Judge Orders Her Arrest

FLORIDA: Belligerent Judge Seeks the Circumcision of a 4 Year Old

Recent News Articles:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

FLORIDA UPDATE: Father Intent on Circumcising 4-yo Son Seeks to Legally Paralyze Mother

Current Status
In the latest news regarding the circumcision court battle in Florida, we learned that the mother has failed to appear in court to surrender her son, so that he may undergo a court-ordered circumcision at the wishes of the boy's father.

The judge, angry that the mother simply does not bend to his will and hand over the child for non-therapeutic genital surgery as the father wishes, has signed a warrant for her arrest, and the mother is now on the run.

Legal Paralysis Through Financial Disability
As if it weren't enough that the judge gag-ordered the mother from the very beginning and forbade her to go to anyone for help, it has been learned that the father is trying to legally paralyze the mother by disabling her financially.

In a desperate attempt, the father's attorney entered a motion on March 24th, to deny Chase's mother the use of any funds collected for her by others, and by making her bear sole responsibility for all legal fees.

Given the chain of events that have already transpired, it wouldn't be surprising if the judge grants the father this motion.

Can he DO that?
It's hard for me to believe that this case has made it this far, that it's come down to a judge ruling that a four-year-old child should be circumcised to appease his father's wishes, and that the mother, whose wishes obviously do not matter, should acquiescence and relinquish her son, whose wishes should be the first to matter, for non-therapeutic surgery.

To begin with, is it actually legally possible for a judge to disable one party by prohibiting it from seeking help from others in that party's defense? To merely sit there silently while a judge and his favored party simply tell the defendant how things are going to be?

Is it legally possible that a judge with a clear bias can be allowed to preside in such a case? Where it is clear that the judge has picked a side and is doing everything within his power to grant that side's wishes? To the point of completely ignoring anything the other side has to say in his/her defense?

The judge has made it clear that he is simply not going to listen to anyone speaking in the mother's defense. No amicus curiae from anyone, and designating someone to actually speak for the child, the boy whose genitals are in question, to convey his wishes is right out.

Is it legally possible that a judge can issue an order that a healthy, non-consenting individual has to undergo elective, non-medical, non-therapeutic surgery for no other reason than to appease an insistent father?

Can a judge rule that a defendant cannot defend himself, and deny him the right to seek help, even receive help, financial or otherwise, from others?

What kind of court is this where one party can ask the court for an advantage by curtailing the other's legal defenses?

Even if...
My question is, even in the event the judge does grant this motion for the father, how exactly does he plan to enforce it?

How exactly will he know which funds the mother is using were raised by human rights activists, and which ones were not?

The fact that this case has gone on as far as it has is completely insane.

The judge should have taken a good look at the fact that the subject in this case is a grown, healthy 4-year old, and told the father it's simply too late.

When is a higher authority going to step in and halt this judge's mad quest to enforce what is essentially court-ordered child abuse?

Sensible authorities need to step in, declare the agreement invalid, and vindicate this mother so that she and this poor child could go back to living their lives in peace.

Previous Posts:
FLORIDA: Belligerent Judge Seeks the Circumcision of a 4 Year Old

FLORIDA UPDATE: Mother in Circumcision Dispute Fails to Appear in Court - Judge Orders Her Arrest

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

FLORIDA UPDATE: Mother in Circumcision Dispute Fails to Appear in Court - Judge Orders Her Arrest

In an earlier post, I commented on the status of a case where a judge has ordered the forced circumcision of a healthy non-consenting 4-year-old, and where the boy and the mother have gone missing.

The deadline given by the judge has passed (March 10, 2015 at 2PM), the mother and her son have failed to appear, and the judge has signed her arrest warrant.

The Sun Sentinel has reported that two new lawyers are speaking on the mother's behalf.

One of them has said "The child is scared to death of the procedure and doesn't want it."

They were hoping the judge would consider requests for a mental health examination of the child, and to appoint an independent guardian to speak for the boy at future court proceedings, but the judge isn't hearing any of it.

In fact, in previous hearings, the judge has declined to hear anything in the mother's defense, including an amicus curiae filed by organization Attorneys for the Rights of the Child (ARCLaw).

Yes, it appears the judge is set on having that 4-year-old child circumcised or bust.

That a court can actually order a parent to acquiescence to the subjection of her son to needless surgery seems so surreal to me.

In a similar case, a mother in Israel was being fined $140 dollars daily until she agreed to have her son circumcised to appease her ex-husband's wishes. In the end, the fine was dropped, and the mother and child were allowed to go unharmed. Could it be that Israel is more progressive and have better sense than the US in this regard?

This comment was gleaned from an intactivist forum:

"I'm going to use men with guns to hunt you and your mother down. Then they'll throw her in a cage and give her a criminal record and cut the flesh off your penis.

... said no moral human being ever."

Higher authorities need to step in, relieve this judge, possibly have his sanity examined, and give this case a fair hearing.

This is the face of a Muslim child about to get circumcised. In Muslim traditions, children are circumcised at much later ages. If this judge's rulings are enforced, I can only imagine that this is what that poor boy will look like.

Someone PLEASE step in to protect this mother and child.


Previous Post:
FLORIDA: Belligerent Judge Seeks the Circumcision of a 4 Year Old

Saturday, March 7, 2015

FLORIDA: Belligerent Judge Seeks the Circumcision of a 4 Year Old

News of this case had been all over intactivist circles, and as much as I could help it, I didn't want to touch it. But now, the situation in Florida has escalated, and I feel compelled to write about it.

Long Story Short
A four year old child is caught in the middle of a court dispute. His parents never married, but long ago, they both agreed to have their male child circumcised and signed a legal contract. The boy is now four years old, he hasn't been circumcised, and despite the legal agreement they made earlier, the mother has changed her mind and does not want her son to undergo needless surgery, as the boy is healthy, there is no medical indication for surgical intervention, and there are risks, including death.

The case has been in Florida courts for the past year or so, and it has culminated in the judge siding with the father, invoking the legal contract signed by both parents, and ordering that the child must be circumcised as the father wishes, against the mother's wishes, irrespective of what the child, now fully conscious and aware of his own body, wants for himself.

We Talk, You Listen: Crippled Early On
Of peculiarity is the fact that the judge sought to disable the mother from defending her case early on. He placed a gag order on her that forbade her from going to the media, or seeking out the funds necessary for her defense. She was not to talk to the boy about what would happen to him. Basically the judge wanted to render her and her child helpless, sitting ducks. I suppose the judge was expecting for the mother to just fold her hands and say "Here! Take the child; he's all yours."

Silenced, forbidden from seeking funds, even talking to her own child, what was this mother supposed to do? It is clear that the judge sought to rig this case in the father's favor from the very beginning. In my opinion, this is a problem in and of itself. How is it fair to strip one side of their defenses?

Intactivists Step In
The judge may have issued this mother a gag order, but this didn't stop intactivist groups from publicizing this child's case on her behalf, and on behalf of that child. Many groups and individuals have worked hard to raise awareness of this case, and to raise funds for this mother's legal expenses in spite of the judge's attempted blackout. They have also staged protests.

The Plot Thickens
At the end of last year, the judge decided the mother didn't have a case, and that plans for the father to have her son circumcised should proceed as detailed in the legal contract signed by both parents. Even so, the mother has tried her best to prolong the legal battle, attempting to extend her son's grace period for as long as she can.

Within the past few months, the father has tried to arrange for the elective procedure to happen. On February 18, 2015, the mother filed a motion for injunction. The judge denied the mother’s motion for an injunction and a hearing was scheduled for March 6, 2015. Two days later, on Friday, February 20, 2015, the judge ordered that the circumcision could proceed without the mother’s consent, in the event the mother refuses.

It is now March 7th, the father has been seeking to have the child circumcised, and now the mother and child are nowhere to be found. The judge has ruled that the mother must appear in court to hand over her son, and she must sign a consent form to have him circumcised by Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 2PM or face jail time. In addition, he "blames" her for making the case public.

It appears the judge is hell-bent on having this four year old child circumcised, meanwhile trying to paint his mother as some sort of villain for standing up and seeking help on his behalf.

Something is seriously the matter with this judge.

What Happens Now?
Many intactivists feared this would happen. In fact, quite a few cautioned against counseling the mother to take the boy and run, that if there were any chance this boy would be spared needless surgery, fleeing with the child would destroy it.

But I say, what choice did she have? Besides just stand by and watch as her child is taken from her arms to have a stranger needlessly cut off part of his penis? If running is the only way to extend the protection of this child's rights, then I say so be it.

In all honesty, I'm not sure what I, the author of this blog would do if I were in this woman's shoes.

I'd like the reader to try and picture what would happen if this case happened in reverse.

You have a daughter with someone and you initially agree to have her circumcised. You sign a legal document, and it's binding, as you live in a country where female circumcision is "normal" and socially accepted. You read more information about it and you want to change your mind. You and the person you had your daughter with go to court and the judge sides with that person, citing "research" that says it prevents cancer and STDs, and that it's "very, very safe."

You are to hand over your daughter at a determined date to be circumcised, and you will not see her during her healing period.


What News Outlets Are Saying
Of course, this case has been in the news since last year, and there are too many articles to quote, so I'll be quoting from the most recent articles, and highlighting points from them that jumped out at me.

From the Daily Mail (UK):
"In a stinging rebuke of the mother, [the judge] said she had successfully dragged out a legal battle and was 'reprehensible' for going missing with the boy and for conduct that has put the 4-year-old in a public spotlight 'making him an object of curiosity and worse'. "
What I find "reprehensible" is that this judge has the nerve of trying to vilify this mother after all he has done, trying to put a gag order on her, hastening the child's circumcision by removing the need for her consent, etc.

What I find "reprehensible" is the audacity of this judge to condemn that this case be made public. 
Why is he so concerned that the public not be aware of his ruling?

"She will only avoid jail on the contempt charge, [the judge] said, if she signs paperwork necessary to schedule the procedure that she initially agreed to in a legal document."
I find it ironic that the judge is basically trying to force this woman to sign consent papers on this child's behalf. "Sign or rot in jail," basically. There goes "consent..." Again, something is seriously the matter with this judge.
"'This child has been placed in a light that provides much too much scrutiny for a little boy,' the judge said. 'I blame no one but the mother for that.'"

This is truly unbelievable.

It is more of a problem for this judge, that this child's case is being scrutinized, and not the fact that he has ordered the child undergo needless surgery at the expense of his bodily integrity, not to mention his basic human rights.

Says the father:

"'She's willing to flee with him and plaster him all over the Internet and do anything she can,' [the father] said. 'She's stated that she's going to do everything that she can to stop it.'"
And he is surprised?

And then, almost as if obligatory, the article concludes:
"The CDC says medical evidence shows benefits clearly outweigh risks, and that circumcision can lower a male's risk of sexually transmitted diseases, penile cancer and urinary tract infections."

What the article doesn't say is that in the end, the CDC can't commit to an actual recommendation for male infant circumcision based on the current body of medical literature.

The trend of opinion on routine male circumcision is overwhelmingly negative in industrialized nations. No respected medical board in the world recommends circumcision for infants, not even in the name of HIV prevention. They must all point to the risks, and they must all state that there is no convincing evidence that the benefits outweigh these risks. To do otherwise would be to take an unfounded position against the best medical authorities of the West.
It must be asked what bearing the half-assed, non-committal CDC statement on male infant circumcision has on a healthy 4 year old who is at zero risk for sexually transmitted disease. Not even the American Cancer Society recommends infant circumcision as a measure to prevent penile cancer, and UTIs are already rare and easily treated.

From a  blog from NewTimes:
"In a hearing held Friday, [the judge] heard testimony from the boy's father, over how [the mother] has fled and vanished with their son. [The father] also asked the court to have [the mother]stop allowing anti-circumcision activists to continue using their son's name and likeness on the internet. She had been ordered to do so in the past but has disobeyed that court order."

As if she could stop other groups from doing what they want... As if she or he had any command over it... In the past she was ordered that she was not to make the case public. This didn't mean that others weren't free to do so on her and that poor child's behalf. She didn't disobey anything. That judge has a problem for trying to put a lid on this case.

"During his testimony, [the father] detailed an incident where [the mother] burst into a doctor's office where the child was being examined in order to schedule a procedure. [The father] said she "threw a tantrum" and yelled at the medical staff that she had not given consent for the boy to be examined by the doctor. [The father] said their son, who had witnessed the outburst, was "visibly shaken." He also claimed that the boy had expressed fear over getting a circumcision. [The father] hinted on the stand that this was due to Hironimus' using "scare tactics" on the boy, though he didn't make clear what those tactics might've been."

And why shouldn't this mother have been outraged that her child was being examined for surgery without her consent? It's telling how now the judge, the lawyer and everyone involved on the father's behalf is trying to make the mother look like a villain. Yes, I'm sure it was the mother and her "scare tactics," and not the fact that the child is awaiting someone to come and cut off part of his penis, that scared the child.

Really, dad? Some father YOU are...

"[The judge]said he expected that, although [the mother] was ordered not to allow the boy's name and likeness to be taken from her personal Facebook and used on these websites, she did anyway. 'I expected this to happen,' [the judge] said during his ruling, 'that the child's likeness would be used, making him an object of curiosity on the Internet.'"

But why would he expect that? And why would he want to preempt it with a gag order?

Is it the child that the judge fears would be an object of curiosity? Or was it circumcision? Or the fact that it was going to happen on a 4 year old without any medical indication whatsoever?

"Moreover, [the judge] said that he had heard enough testimony from doctors that circumcision is safe. 'I have heard testimony from doctors that there are zero cases of penile cancer in circumcised males, but there have been some cases in uncircumcised males,' [the judge] said. 'I've also heard testimony from doctors that there are less cases of STDs in circumcised males than in uncircumcised males.'

That circumcised males are immunized against penile cancer is simply categorically false. One must wonder why sexually transmitted disease is a concern in a four year old, and why he couldn't decide what STD prevention methods he would like to employ for himself as a sexually active adult.

"[The judge], saying he wanted to 'rein in this case,' also added that circumcision is 'short, under local anesthesia, and, at this stage of the boy's life, very, very safe.'"

So now,  judge is some sort of certified doctor. Yes, I'm sure he must have a degree in pediatric medicine, especially where urology and surgery are concerned.

Is he dense or is he deliberately missing the point?

Would female circumcision be justified to do in a girl if it "reduced cancer and sexually transmitted diseases," and rendered "very, very safe?"

I gleaned the following from The Sun Sentinel, and it seems telling of people's ignorance on the matter:
"[The father] has said he decided to pursue the circumcision in December 2013 when the boy was 3, after he said he noticed his son was urinating on his leg. The father on Friday said the boy's pediatrician had diagnosed a condition called phimosis, which prevents retraction of the foreskin."
If the reporter at The Sun Sentinel is to be believed, readers are being asked to just ignore the legal document the father has to go on. This is no longer about disputing the validity of a legal agreement, but about whether or not circumcision is medically indicated in the child.

The father wasn't intent on circumcising this child at the time he signed the legal document in question, he decided in 2013 he would like to circumcise his son.

Yes, let it be heard here that urinating on one's leg is a sign of phimosis, and not of childhood urinary incontinence. Is this some kind of joke?

It appears now that the father is seeking to use pseudo-medicine to circumcise this perfectly healthy child.

Phimosis? Dad? When medical literature indicates that a child's foreskin does not necessarily retract in infancy? But could remain non-retractile up until late teens?


Scraping the bottom of the barrel.

'There is no reason this case has to have gone this far, under these circumstances, drawing this much attention to a little boy,' [the judge] said. 'There is just no reason.'

The judge is right. He could have just told the father the mother reconsidered, she is as much a parent of the child as he is, and she has every right to change her mind and intervene for her child.

I think what the judge means to say here is that he wishes attention to circumcision, particularly the circumcision of a healthy, non-consenting four year-old. Weren't drawn.

By now, I think he should be aware that the cat's out of the bag, and a gag-order is not going to stuff it back in.

"The most recent federal statistics indicate circumcision is waning in popularity across the country, but a national pediatricians' group says the health benefits of the procedure for newborn males are greater than the risks."

The national pediatricians' group in question is the AAP, and though yes, they did try to repeat the sound-bite  that "the health benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks," many times, in the end, they couldn't commit to a recommendation, citing, in their very own article that, "the benefits are not great enough."

Despite what the CDC and AAP have to say on the matter, it remains true and irrefutable fact that no respected medical organization recommends infant circumcision based on current medical literature.

How can it be?
The judge has made a very true point; how is it that this case has gone on as far as it has?

It must be asked, without medical or clinical indication, how is it doctors can legally be performing non-medical surgery on healthy, non-consenting minors? Let alone be giving parents any kind of "choice" in the matter?

How is it that whether or not this child will undergo surgery depends on a written agreement, and not on the presence or absence of medical necessity?

How is it the court can order a mother to relinquish her son, and her voice to protect that son from needless surgery?

There is seriously something very wrong with courts in so-called 1st world developed countries that would allow this to happen.

All Wanted Secrecy - But WHY?
The father, the judge in this case, the father's lawyers have all tried to put a lid on this case. The judge put a gag order on the mother forbidding her to go to the media, or to seek out funds for her legal expenses. The father in particular was hoping to prevent the boy from becoming a poster boy for human rights activists who opposed the forced circumcision of healthy, non-consenting minors.

But why?

Why was the judge complicit in trying to keep this case under wraps?

It is said that only those who do evil hate the light, and avoid it, lest their deeds should be reproved. They clench their fists and gnash their teeth when anybody dares shine light on them. It is those who speak the truth, and fear not the truth who don't fear the light. Lo, they come to it and stand in it that their deeds may be made manifest.

The judge also ordered the media not to release the name of the child, and also asked reporters to be "sensitive" about identifying the parents, "Not in deference to me, but in deference to the protection of the individuals involved."

Just whom does the judge want to "protect?" And why? Certainly not the boy. The boy and his well-being are his least concern. He's talking about the "protection" the father who would be surely hated for his actions. And he is most definitely talking about himself, who would be seen as nothing more than an enabler of the deliberate violation of this child's basic human rights.

They all know they are engaging in deliberate child abuse through forced genital mutilation, and they do not want the light of scrutiny shone on them.

That is why they wanted to have concluded this case in secret.

Who Are the Players? What's at Stake?
The judge, the father, the father's lawyers etc. would all prefer for there to be a media black out regarding this case.

And this is precisely why I'm going to mention the parents' names right here in my blog. (They are no secret, as the names have appeared in other previous news sources.)

This is four-year old Chase.

This is the poor boy caught in the crossfire between his parents. He is not sick, he is not suffering any kind of illness that indicates surgical treatment. Yet the court has ordered that he needs to undergo surgery, the sole reason being the appeasement of his father. This is the child whose penis is in question. And yet, he is but a bystander in the whole case. No one seems to be bothered, no one seems to be interested in what he has to say regarding the future of his own body. That is, except human rights activists who are fighting for his cause.

Heather Hironimus is Chase's mother, here they are pictured together.

This is Dennis Nebus is Chase's father.

And this is Judge Jeffery Dana Gillen, the judge who appears to have made it his life's mission to see to it that Chase undergoes circumcision.

It must be asked, why in the world would a judge be concerned that this case not be made public? Is it the child's well-being he is concerned about? Or is it something that runs a bit deeper?

I can only speculate, but I think that this judge knows that siding with the mother and recognizing the fact the boy is healthy, and that circumcision is medically unnecessary, will open up a can of worms across the country, perhaps even the world. More and more circumcision is a hot-button issue in this country, and this judge and others may be working to prevent any kind of precedent that says a child's rights ought to be recognized, or even that a child should be spared in the event that parents cannot come to an agreement.

The judge may even have his own personal agenda. I speculate that the judge is himself circumcised, possibly a father to circumcised children, and he is taking the father's side, and placing himself in the father's shoes. Methinks the judge would himself be devastated if his wife would intervene on behalf of his male children and refuse to allow anyone to circumcise them.

Based on the fact that he was invited to be a speaker for career day at the Donna Klein Jewish Academy, where all invited speakers are prominent Jews in the community, it has been speculated in intactivist circles that he may be Jewish, and thus have a religious conviction to make sure this case falls through for the mother, and is a victory for the father. In a recent case in Israel, a mother succeeded in preventing her son from undergoing circumcision, much to the chagrin of the child's father, and the rabbinical court who wanted that child circumcised. Perhaps this judge wants to prevent a similar precedent in the US? It is possible the Academy may have made an exception and decided to invite a non-Jew to address the students, but doubtful given that one of the main goals of the event seems to be laud accomplishments made by Jewish members.

At any rate, one way or another, I suspect the judge of having a dog in the race, and is abusing his position of power to make sure things go his way. He ought to be relieved from this case, and it should be seen by other judges. This man is proving to be arrogant and belligerent, and it is clear that he could care less for the well-being of this child.

"A Personal Choice"
Circumcision advocates like to bandy about these words when it comes to defending parents who are adamant that their children be circumcised, but it seems their very meaning is lost on them, because they seem to be, either intentionally, or deliberately, leaving out the person whose genitals are in question.

If the child were actually suffering a condition, it would be a different matter, as treatment is necessary, and parents would be faced with having to make a decision.

But otherwise, why is the child and his own express wishes completely ignored?

In essence, the courts are treating this child like a slave in a business transaction between owners. Perhaps even worse; he's being treated like cattle to be branded.

No "personal choice," no basic human rights, no human dignity for this child.

The Bottom Line
The foreskin is not a birth defect. Neither is it a congenital deformity or genetic anomaly akin to a 6th finger or a cleft. Neither is it a medical condition like a ruptured appendix or diseased gall bladder. Neither is it a dead part of the body, like the umbilical cord, hair, or fingernails.

The foreskin is not "extra skin." The foreskin is normal, natural, healthy, functioning tissue, present in all males at birth; it is as intrinsic to male genitalia as labia are to female genitalia.

Unless there is a medical or clinical indication, the circumcision of a healthy, non-consenting individuals is a deliberate wound; it is the destruction of normal, healthy tissue, the permanent disfigurement of normal, healthy organs, and by very definition, infant genital mutilation, and a violation of the most basic of human rights.

Without medical or clinical indication, doctors have absolutely no business performing surgery in healthy, non-consenting individuals, much less be eliciting any kind of "decision" from parents.

There is something seriously wrong with the courts in Florida, or any court that would allow the elective, non-medical circumcision on a healthy, non-consenting individual, especially a four year old child, where the child will be old enough, fully aware, and fully conscious of what would happen to his body, and who will remember this event for the rest of his life.

The court system is broken if the rights of a healthy, non-consenting individual are tramped.

This is the face of a Muslim child just before he undergoes a ritual circumcision. In Muslim traditions, children are circumcised at much later ages. Notice the comfort money he has been given. Notice where his hands are. Notice the look of fear and despair in his face. No one used "fear tactics" to scare this child. He knows what's coming, and he is scared. I can only imagine that if Chase is forcibly circumcised, his face too will look something like this just before. My heart breaks just to think about it.

May there be justice for this poor child.

 "Who will cry for the little boy, he cried himself to sleep
Who will cry for the little boy, who never had it for keeps
Who will cry for the little boy, who walked on burning sands
Who will cry for the little boy, the boy inside a man
Who will cry for the little boy, who knew well hurt and pain
Who will cry for the little boy, who died and died again 
Who will cry for the little boy, a good boy he tried to be
Who will cry for the little boy, who cries inside of me"
From the movie Antwone Fischer

SOMEBODY has got to stand up for this boy and mother. Somebody has got to be their voice.

SHAME on this judge for taking this mother's voice away, and for disregarding the voice of the boy whose body is in question.

SHAME on him for abusing his position of power.

Related Posts:

The Circumcision Blame Game

OUT OF LINE: AAP Circumcision Policy Statement Formally Rejected

USA: Centers for Disease Control to Mirror American Academy of Pediatrics

Saturday, February 21, 2015

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Bill to Defund Circumcision Heard - Dissenters Included Planned Parenthood and a Rabbi

A bill that would prohibit Medicaid from funding the non-therapeutic circumcision of infants was heard by a house committee in New Hampshire very recently. Predictable dissent ensued.

18 states have cut Medicaid funding for the elective, non-therapeutic procedure, and Republican Keith Murphy sponsored the bill, asserting that New Hampshire should join them.

As with many politicians, Murphy's heart is in the right place, but his stated reasons as to why New Hampshire should cut Medicaid funding, have made the bill easy to shoot down by dissenters.

According to a recent news article, Murphy "firmly believes circumcision is dangerous – potentially, very dangerous."

Distraction from the issue
Murphy is quoted saying "One hundred and seventeen children a year, on average, die from circumcision complications. In fact it’s one of the leading causes of neonatal male deaths."

It must be said that, although intactivists know that circumcision is responsible for infant deaths, we also know that, because hospitals are not required to release information regarding infant deaths related to infant circumcision, and because doctors do their best to hide deaths due to circumcision by deliberately misattributing them to other causes, we can't know for sure, and any figure given is an estimate at best.

It is really sad that Murphy isn't anything in the way of a medical doctor who is well-versed in the risks and complications of circumcision, for someone who is could attest to the fact that the risks of male infant circumcision include infection, hemorrhaging, partial or full ablation, and yes, even death, are very real.

It is a real shame that attention from the fact circumcision is medically unnecessary in healthy, non-consenting newborns, and that Medicaid funds could be put to better use, has to be diverted to disputing the validity of one particular figure which is at best, a modest estimate, given reality.

Same old rationale
In opposition to the proposed bill, Planned Parenthood was ready to fire back that "[C]ircumcision carries public health benefits, including lowered risk of urinary tract infections and some sexually transmitted diseases." (This response isn't too surprising, given that they've already been trying to pass the lack of a foreskin as "normal," and they're busy pushing circumcision on Africans...)

This despite the fact that not a single respected medical organization in the world recommends the circumcision of infants based on the current body of medical literature.

Our very own AAP stated in their latest policy statement in 2012 that the so-called "benefits" of circumcision were "not great enough to recommend routine circumcision for all male newborns."

Even the CDC shies away from an actual recommendation in their latest release, dumping the onus of responsibility, as the AAP did 2 years prior, on parents.

It  needs to be asked, if the so-called "benefits" of circumcision are "not great enough to recommend routine circumcision for all male newborns," how is it something that should be funded by Medicaid?

What do respected medical organizations in other industrialized nations have to say?

Circumcision fails to prevent disease transmission. So ineffective is circumcision at preventing sexually transmitted disease, that circumcised men must still be urged to wear condoms. This is a fact that no doctor, or "researcher" can deny.

How is circumcision even a consideration, where urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted disease are better thwarted by antibiotics and condoms respectively?

The trend of opinion on routine male circumcision is overwhelmingly negative in industrialized nations. No respected medical board in the world recommends circumcision for infants, not even in the name of HIV prevention. They must all point to the risks, and they must all state that there is no convincing evidence that the benefits outweigh these risks. To do otherwise would be to take an unfounded position against the best medical authorities of the West.

One Jay Smith, a retired family physician, speaking on behalf of the New Hampshire Public Health Association defended: "Basically, I think we just feel that it’s bad public policy to remove a procedure from Medicaid that is still approved for other insurance," said Smith.

Really doc? You don't think it's bad public policy for public funding to cover non-medical, non-therapeutic elective procedures, especially on healthy, non-consenting minors?

Even a rabbi weighs in, saying that cutting Medicaid funding for male infant circumcision would discriminate against low-income Jews. (Right, because the proposed bill would deny only Jewish parents of male children a Medicaid handout.)

Staying on topic
Murphy brings up a very good reason why circumcising infants should be a concern, but the risk of death and the rate of infant deaths related to circumcision are a distraction from the conversation that should be happening, and a diversion from the questions that need to be asked.

1. What is the purpose of Medicaid?

2. Why should Medicaid give handouts to doctors who perform elective, non-medical surgery on healthy, non-consenting individuals?

3. Shouldn't public coffers cover only treatment and procedures for which there is clear medical indication?

4. Without medical or clinical indication, can doctors even be performing surgery in healthy, non-consenting individuals? Let alone be eliciting any kind of "decision" from parents? Let alone expect to be reimbursed by public monies?

5. What other elective, non-medical, non-therapeutic procedures on healthy, non-consenting individuals, should Medicaid be expected to cover?

The bottom line
The foreskin is not a birth defect. Neither is it a congenital deformity or genetic anomaly akin to a 6th finger or a cleft. Neither is it a medical condition like a ruptured appendix or diseased gall bladder. Neither is it a dead part of the body, like the umbilical cord, hair, or fingernails.

The foreskin is not "extra skin." The foreskin is normal, natural, healthy, functioning tissue, present in all males at birth; it is as intrinsic to male genitalia as labia are to female genitalia.

Unless there is a medical or clinical indication, the circumcision of a healthy, non-consenting individuals is a deliberate wound; it is the destruction of normal, healthy tissue, the permanent disfigurement of normal, healthy organs, and by very definition, infant genital mutilation, and a violation of the most basic of human rights.

Without medical or clinical indication, doctors have absolutely no business performing surgery in healthy, non-consenting individuals, much less be eliciting any kind of "decision" from parents, and much less expect to be reimbursed.

Medicaid money could be better spent on medical treatment that is actually needed, instead of controversial elective surgery on healthy, non-consenting individuals.

New Hampshire, and eventually all 50 states should cut Medicaid funding for elective, non-medical, non-therapeutic circumcision, especially in healthy, non-consenting minors, and put it to better use.

Related Posts:
PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Mutilated is the New "Normal"

CIRCUMCISION DEATH: Yet Another One (I Hate Writing These)

OUT OF LINE: AAP Circumcision Policy Statement Formally Rejected

USA: Centers for Disease Control to Mirror American Academy of Pediatrics

Saturday, January 31, 2015


Well, it's been a while since I thought about starting this series on logical fallacies used to defend and promote the forced genital cutting of healthy, non-consenting individuals, and I thought it was time to add another installation to it. The last time I wrote on this series, I talked about the appeal to age and tradition, otherwise known as "ad antiquitam." This time, I'll be talking about its polar opposite, "ad novitam." These are ironically often used in conjunction with each other, the latter often used as a fallback to the former.

AKA: "Because It's New"
If "ad antiquitam" is appeal to age, culture and old tradition, "ad novitam" appeals to novelty and modernity. While "ad antiquitam" capitalizes on the security of the traditional, "ad novitam" appeals to the sense of wanting to be "fashionable," "progressive" and "up-to-date." These fallacies share a common trait in that people try to use them to support claims that should stand or fall on their own merits; both of them introduce the irrelevant fact of age as a means of influencing acceptance. It is a mistake to think that the newness of something is a factor contributing to its soundness.

Keeping It "New"

Male circumcision is no "new" and "innovative" discovery. In fact, historical records trace it back some 6,000 years. So circumcision advocates have a careful balancing act to perform; they have to convince their audience that circumcision is both this "ancient tradition that has been practiced for thousands of years," and, at the same time, that it is this "innovative technology that is going to save lives."

Although male circumcision has been practiced for millennia (as has female circumcision), "research" in attempt to medicalize it began relatively recently. The quest to make circumcision relevant to modern medicine has been going on for over 170 years, and it continues to this day.

In the latest attempt to repackage male circumcision as prophylaxis, male circumcision proponents have called it a "game changer." A "paradigm shift." To quote Ronald Gray, the head author of one of the three "trials" being used to promote male circumcision in Africa and the United States alike:

"We've never used surgery to prevent an infectious disease. It's a completely new concept, a new paradigm."

(Really, doc?)

One can read about a whole list of "brand new circumcision devices" that will "revolutionize" the world. (See PrePex and AccuCirc) One doctor markets his "technique" as "new" and "innovative." Actually, it's nothing more than the Mogen (invented in 1954) clamp glorified.

In short, circumcision advocates have found refuge in "ad novitam." They have discovered that by keeping male circumcision "fresh" and "new" with a steady flow "studies" and "research," and inventing "new" devices and procedures to do it, it is possible to preserve age-old tradition.

I'm sure trepanning was "new" and "innovative" for its time. Somehow, I think it would be dismissed as pseudo-scientific madness today, no matter how much research was published on the matter, now matter what device were used...

In other words:
Brand new "studies" and "research," same old bullshit.
The fact that an act may be newly proposed does not automatically make it correct. As I said in my last installation of this series; progress is defined by replacing the older with the better.  It is not "progress" to want to take humanity back 6,000 years. The current efforts to peg circumcision as "phrophylaxis" under the guise of "scientific research," "medicine" and "public health" are nothing more than ironic attempts clothing male circumcision as "modern" and "innovative" ad novitam.

In the case of circumcision, ad novitam is used in conjunction with the fallacy of appealing to certain respected authorities, namely science and medicine. The reason circumcision can be argued to be "new" and "innovative" is because "studies say..." (Without even appealing to novelty, "newness" and being "up to date" is implicit.) I hope to make this the next topic in this blog series, if I can ever get to it... (Though I have touched this subject before.)

Note the red letters in all-caps:
"NOW" as opposed to "BEFORE" or "YESTERDAY."

Related Posts:

CIRCUMCISION "RESEARCH": Rehashed Findings and Misleading Headlines

Politically Correct Research: When Science, Morals and Political Agendas Collide

PEPFAR To Blow Millions on PrePex

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Year-End Blurb

It's been a while since I've put up a meaningful post. You know? One to which I actually devoted time and passion. Well, for the past few weeks it's been rather hard for your author come up with something. So much has been going on in my life, that it has been extremely difficult for me to sit down, think, and type out my thoughts, I must apologize.

Hopefully it should all pass soon, and I will find some time to sit and post my thoughts more regularly once again.

For now, my last post for 2014 will be about a discussion I had recently with my co-workers.

It happened one afternoon, on one of those days where we were all done for the day, and our remaining time was spent preparing materials for work the next day. It is during this time when discussions about life, the universe and everything take place, at least at my current workplace. I had hoped the subject of male infant circumcision would never come up.

Don't get me wrong, I'm passionate, and it's one thing to go all out online, but at the workplace, it's different. These are the people whom you will work with every day, and you don't want to sour relationships at work.

I had hoped the subject of male infant circumcision would never come up, because if it did, I would would be determined to state how I felt about it, I would not relent, and shit would hit the fan.

Well, that afternoon, shit hit he fan.

But you know, it wasn't all that bad; the workers present were all able to get in how they felt, we agreed to simply state those feelings, give closing remarks, and promise that the subject would never be broached again.

I'm not sure I was able to get through to any of my co-workers, but what I can be sure about is that they got an earful of what I had to say.

That day, I came to find out that one of my co-workers is actually intact, and so is his son.

This put my fear that I would be the only intact worker in the room, and that it would be everyone in there against me to rest.

Sadly, it was me and that other worker against the other guys, who are sadly, owners of iatrogenically deficient genitalia, and were all in favor of circumcision.

One of them, currently the father of two girls, vowed that if he were ever to have a son, that he would most definitely have him circumcised.

We talked about all the rationale for it, medical, religious and what not.

To this man, circumcising his son would not have anything to do with all the medical mumbo-jumbo currently being pumped out by the American medical establishment, but had more of a "spiritual significance" for him, even though he is Christian, where circumcision profits Christians nothing (Galatians 5).

Another co-worker said that he was a "halfie," meaning he was circumcised, but loosely. According to him, he felt that he was able to experience what life would be like either way.

He was also the proud owner of tattoos.

"But why would you force this on your child? At least you might have a semblance of what it's like to have anatomically correct genitals..." I asked him.

"Well, I might consider it," he said, "but my wife is Indonesian and Muslim so... it's kind of a given."

"Well, is your wife circumcised?"

I asked him.

"No, but that's totally different."

I took it upon myself to explain to him that in Indonesia, Malaysia and other South East Asian countries, girls are circumcised as boys are, and some may even describe it as "less severe."

"Yeah... she's not even a serious Muslim..."

"So there you go," I told him.

This second co-worker was more receptive to my message, and, at least for that afternoon, lent me an ear.

"You seem so passionately against this, and I'm curious to know why."

"To me," I said, "It all boils down to basic human rights. If we do not own our bodies, what in this world do we own?" I asked...

He admitted that I had a point.

Of course he asked the usual questions.

"Well what about surgery and vaccinations?" He asked.

"What about them? Usually surgery requires clear medical indication. And vaccines actually prevent disease and are recommended by every respected medical organization, unlike male infant circumcision," I told him.

The other co-worker with two daughters chimed in and asked me "Well what's wrong with circumcision? What's wrong with having a circumcised penis?"

"What's wrong with circumcision? What's wrong with having a circumcised penis?"

"There is nothing wrong with having a circumcised penis," I said.

"There is nothing wrong with having tattoos," I said, to try and resonate with something familiar to at least one co-worker.

"But I'm against it when forcibly performed on healthy, non-consenting minors."

That question stuck in my mind.

What IS wrong with having a circumcised penis?

But that perspective is wrong.

You do not ask what's wrong with a forced, artificial phenomenon.

What's wrong with tattoos?

What's wrong with body piercings?

What's wrong with prosthetic limbs?

Synthetic eye-balls?

If that is how a person wants to be, or if it is a result of something inevitable, that is one thing.

The bigger question should be, what is wrong with having anatomically correct genitals?

What's wrong with the penis, whole and intact, as nature, or the Creator, if you believe in one, made it?

I didn't think to ask this question then, but I wish I had...

When you have these conversations with people, short of getting on your knees and begging, there is nothing you can really do, so I ended on this note.

"I will not ever bring this subject up again. I only talked about this because it was brought up. I prefer to preserve peace. But please, if I could at least get you to do this, please please PLEASE look this subject up and research it more. Don't take it from me."

And so our conversation ended there. Hopefully the subject will not be brought up again.

I surely hope I do not live to see the day my co-workers bear male children.

Or if I do, I hope they do not tell me about their sons' circumcisions.

Or better yet, I hope I've planted a seed in their minds, and they'll come 'round...

When all is said and done, that conversation couldn't have had a better outcome.

We each had our say, we're still talking, and we're not at each other's throats.

Even though the conversation didn't exactly end how I wanted, it is my hope that I would at least have given them something to think about.

Well, that's all I've got to say for the remainder of this year.

As for the AAP and CDC?

What more can be said?

Get back to me when one of them actually goes through with a recommendation.

A happy and prosperous new year to all.