The Woman Who Went to Jail to Save Her Son from Circumcision Is Giving In

Heather Hironimus was in tears and handcuffs while she signed the form authorizing the removal of her son's foreskin.

by Mike Pearl
May 22 2015, 11:30pm

News screencap via

Heather Hironimus has been fighting for four years to make sure her son kept his foreskin, but after her arrest on charges of interfering with custody, it appears the battle is finally over—and she's giving in.

Hironimus had been locked in combat with her ex-boyfriend Dennis Nebus over a circumcision procedure she had agreed to permit before changing her mind. The legal machinations of this case endured well past the usual age for circumcisions, but neither parent would relent.

But, according to the New Times Broward-Palm Beach, Hironimus received an ultimatum from Judge Jeffrey Gillen: Sign a form consenting to the procedure, or be stuck in jail for some indeterminate amount of time. She appeared in court on Friday and refused to sign, and was sent back to lockup.

But moments later, she decided to cave, and the court was reconvened. Hironimus cried as her lawyer held the document in place, and she struggled to use a pen while in handcuffs. In the end, the document was signed, and the foreskin's fate was sealed.

Intact America is an activist group that has been very vocal about this case. In an email to VICE, Georganne Chapin of Intact America referred to the situation as "beyond appalling."

According to the Palm Beach Post, Hironimus has yet to be arraigned for interfering with her custody agreement, and a bail hearing for that charge not yet been scheduled.

As we've previously mentioned, multiple judges have ruled that the circumcision should take place, since Hironimus had formally capitulated to the father's wish that their son Chase be circumcised when she signed the initial custody agreement with Nebus.

But according to Nebus's attorney, May Cain, there have been "death threats," against Nebus, prompting him to consider taking the four-year-old out of state to have the procedure performed. According to, the judge has authorized Nebus to take Chase out of state and unilaterally make all medical decisions on his behalf.

But Chapin of Intact America told VICE that to do so would be "despicable." She explained that "no physician in the United States can consider Heather Hironimus's signature—obtained while she was in handcuffs, exhausted, and under threat of indefinite detention—to be valid."

The judge told the parents, "You are going to have to learn to deal with each other in a civil and amicable manner," according to the Palm Beach Post.

Protesters were gathered outside of the courthouse before Hironimus signed. In a video, one protester named Tara Shipley told the Palm Beach Post. "We're standing beside Heather. We support Heather, and we hope she knows that she's not alone." She added, "The court has shown that they're really not thinking about the boy's best interest."

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