Palm Beach News

Heather Hironimus Signs Consent for Son's Circumcision

Heather Hironimus has signed a consent form to allow the circumcision of her four-year-old son. Hironimus, who has been in jail for a week, was given a choice by Judge Jeffrey Gillen of the 15th judicial district court in Palm Beach County to either sign the form or remain in custody indefinitely. Hironimus at first refused to sign, but eventually relented.

Hironimus, 31, has been held in Broward jail on an interference with custody charge, has been fighting to prevent her four-year-old son from being circumcised, has ended her fight in federal court. After signing the consent form, she is expected to be released shorty.

According to anti-circumcision and advocate of Hironimus' cause, Chase's Guardians, the boy's father, Dennis Nebus, was granted 90 days of sole decision making power over the boy's schooling and medical care. Nebus had asked Gillen if he could take the child anywhere in the U.S. in order to have the procedure performed.  But, not long after, Hironimus notified the court that she had changed her mind and tearfully signed the consent form.
Hironimus and her son had vanished following a months-long dispute with Nebus over whether the child should be circumcised. Prior to the couple's separation, they had agreed that Nebus would pay for and schedule the child's circumcision. But over time, Hironimus changed her mind and has been arguing that there is no medical reason for her son to be circumcised.

Hironimus and the child went missing since their last scheduled doctor's visit on February 19. Nebus testified at a hearing in March that he visited the home of the mother to take the boy for his prearranged visiting time and found no one home. The car was also gone, and when he tried calling Hironimus, he said the phone was turned off.

In March, Gillen had ordered Hironimus to appear in court and to bring the child with her or face contempt-of-court charges. When Hironimus and her child remained in hiding, Gillen ordered a warrant for her arrest.

In April, Hironimus filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming circumcising her son would violate the boy's constitutional rights. Gillen and Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw are named in the suit.

Hironimus' attorney, Thomas Hunker, had filed a motion for a restraining order against Nebus, saying that circumcision “will permanently and irreversibly mutilate” their son. Hunker also argued that the procedure carries many risks, including “permanent brain damage or death." 

Last week, Hironimus was found and arrested and has been in jail ever since, where she is being held on an interference with custody charge. The charge is considered a third-degree felony, and is punishable by up to five years in state prison if convicted.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph