Monday, May 12, 2014

Judge, keep your hands off my penis

Judge Jeffrey Dana 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.

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