A Florida woman who fled to avoid the circumcision of her son was arrested Thursday for contempt of court.
Heather Hironimus went missing with her four-year-old child nearly three months ago, as her long court battle against the surgery reached its climax. Though her defenders said she was simply doing what she could to protect a child portrayed as “scared to death” of the procedure, a judge issued a scalding rebuke for her refusal to appear in court, charging her with contempt and issuing an arrest warrant.
Hironimus and the boy’s father, Dennis Nebus, have been warring since her pregnancy. They were never married but share custody of their child, and in a parenting agreement filed in court, the two agreed to the boy’s circumcision.
The mother later changed her mind, though, giving way to a long legal battle. Circuit and appellate judges have sided with the father, but potential surgeons have backed out after failing to get the mother’s consent and being targeted by anti-circumcision protesters.
Last month, out of options in state courts, Hunker filed a federal civil rights complaint on behalf of the child.
Circumcision rates have fallen in the U.S., but a majority of boys still undergo the removal of their foreskin. Even so, a bubbling movement of so-called “intactivists” has made the case a rallying cry against a surgery they view as barbaric.