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Florida Boy’s Circumcision Spurs Lengthy Legal Battle, Protests

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — An estranged Florida couple's fight over whether to circumcise their son has become a rallying cry for those who denounce the procedure as barbaric. The dispute between Heather Hironimus, the mother opposing circumcision, and Dennis Nebus, the father favoring it, has sparked a prolonged court battle, protests and the rapt attention of a movement of self-proclaimed "intactivists."

Volumes of court filings tell the story: Hironimus and Nebus had a six-month relationship that resulted in a pregnancy, the birth of a boy named Chase, and a fight over nearly everything since. The circumcision of the child was agreed to by both parents, but when it came time to schedule the procedure, the mother resisted, having researched the subject further. Judges have ruled in favor of the father, meaning the surgery is likely to happen — but the possible closure of the legal chapter has done little to quiet the case's most passionate followers. Opponents have been bolstered by the overall waning popularity of circumcision, and the fact this fight has gone on so long the boy at its center is now 4 years old.

Jonathan Friedman, 27, who organized the demonstration as part of his "Saving Chase" campaign, traveled from Chicago for the event and makes anti-circumcision advocacy the focus of his life. What has driven supporters to his side, Friedman says, is the age of the boy in this case. "People are not OK with a 4-year-old boy being circumcised — a conscious, articulate boy. That's just not OK," Friedman said. "Not everyone is against circumcisions, but I think everyone is against a 4-year-old's circumcision."

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— The Associated Press