The Florida mother who battled for years against her child’s father over the boy’s circumcision ,ended on Friday when she agreed to the procedure in exchange for her release from jail.
Following a week in custody for contempt and an initial hearing in which she was ordered to remain jailed, the court reconvened and a sobbing Heather Hironimus who was shackled, signed paperwork giving approval for the surgery.
The Mail Online report: The shift, though under duress, threatened the hero status given to Hironimus by a bubbling movement of anti-circumcision advocates who have followed the case’s every turn.
She remained jailed on Friday afternoon, but her release was likely later in the day.
Attorneys for both Hironimus and the boy’s father, Dennis Nebus, declined to comment, citing an ongoing gag order in the case.
Georganne Chapin, executive director of Intact America, which advocates against circumcision, said Hironimus had been ‘bullied’ into signing, calling it the ‘saddest commentary on the court’.
‘I don’t know what’s in his head,’ she said of Judge Jeffrey Gillen, who presided over the case. ‘I don’t know how he can sleep at night.’
Hironimus and Nebus had initially agreed to the circumcision in a parenting agreement filed in court, but the mother later changed her mind.
Circuit and appellate judges sided with the father, but potential surgeons backed out after failing to get the mother’s consent and becoming the target of protesters.
Hironimus went missing with the boy in February, ignoring warnings from Gillen to be in court and allow the circumcision to proceed.
She remained missing until her arrest last week, staying in a domestic violence shelter. With her legal options dwindling, she filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of her son, looking for a solution outside state court.
But her attorney abruptly withdrew that case on Wednesday, two days after its first hearing, when a judge expressed open skepticism of its merits.
Upon arriving in courton Friday, chained at the wrists and ankles and wearing a navy blue jail jumpsuit, Hironimus quietly invoked her Fifth Amendment rights when asked whether she had signed the consent agreement.
Gillen said Hironimus would be jailed indefinitely unless she did.
Her mother, Mary Hironimus, fought back tears but said her daughter was right to fight for her son.
‘Of course it’s worth it,’ she said, ‘any mother would do anything for her child.’
Hironimus still faces a criminal charge of interfering with child custody. Gillen approved a motion by Nebus’ attorney, May Cain, to temporarily give the father sole decision-making over matters including his son’s health and to travel out of state, if needed, to have the circumcision performed. Cain said her client had been receiving death threats and warnings his son would be kidnapped.