by Micah J. Fleck
Thursday, June 11th, 2015
[dropcap size=small]F[/dropcap]lorida mother Heather Hironimus is in agony. Her son, Chase, is about to be forced into a monstrous, frightening session of bodily mutilation that should make even the most chiseled adult’s skin crawl at its description: the tip of Chase’s penis is going to be sawed off. Not for medical purposes, nor for any personal preference of aesthetic. but instead because someone else has deemed it so.
Imagine for a moment, of you will, finding yourself in such a predicament. What if a third-party could dictate what happened to your body? What if, simply by waving a piece of paper someone else deems legal, that third-party could have ultimate control over your very being? What if this aforementioned document dictated that you be strapped to a table so you couldn’t move, tormented under the thought of what was to come, and then finally forced to endure a dangerous, bloody, and unnecessary surgery that forcibly removed a piece of your body – taking with it thousands of nerve endings as well as your bodily dignity?
Well that is exactly the situation young Chase is now facing. Having matured well past the typical timeframe allotted to infant males for circumcision to be brainlessly accepted as “normal” (he is now 4 years old), Chase is still being forced by law to be circumcised against his will. Why? Because his father allegedly coerced his mother into signing a contract giving said father the power to make this procedure happen – one way or another.
Let us pause and think a moment on the implications of this: Today, a little boy will have a piece of his body forcibly removed against his will via a barbaric and unnecessary procedure. Why? Because the government says he has to comply. An uninvolved father’s personal taste legally trumps his own son’s autonomy, at least according to a court ruling. If you don’t think that’s a terrifying fact, then you and I believe in completely different Americas. Whatever happened to little Chase’s rights? Because he’s a child, he suddenly doesn’t deserve them? What about all this talk from the pro-life crowd fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves? Why is that oftentimes this same group of people (mainly including but not limited to the religious right) ignores the circumcision issue as if it weren’t exactly a child’s rights problem as well – the very sort of thing it claims to protect?
Stepping outside of myself for a moment, I wish to give my readers a rare view into my own life. I am a father. My son is now a year old as of this writing. I love him with all my heart, and when he was born I saw only the absolute perfection that was he. Oh, how many new parents we must hear all the time proclaiming the beauty and perfection of their own children. Yet how many of those parents then hand these “perfect” kids over to the doctors to then saw away at their genitals? Well, if you’re in a western country, your baby girl is safe regardless. But if your baby is male, there is a very high likelihood that you simply handed him over without a thought when the question of circumcision came up.
Why? Where does that come from? We know that Judaism has its reasons, but what if your family isn’t Jewish? What’s your excuse then? When I saw my son for the first time and held him in my arms, I too said aloud that he was “perfect.” Except I actually meant it. I didn’t think his penis was imperfect as it already was. I didn’t think it needed to be artificially deformed by a man with a saw so that my son could ‘look more like me.’ Nor do I fear now about the cleanliness of the aforementioned area (what boy isn’t going to feel himself up – in the shower or otherwise? Do we not remember when we were curious kids?). I simply wanted my son – intact – to come home so I could begin the rest of my life with him. Yet so many other parents out there still don’t bat an eye when circumcision is proposed. That is an absolute disgrace in the scientifically and medically literate 21st Century, and it needs to be addressed.
This is an issue bigger than Chase, though our hearts should go out to him today; this issue is immediate, and must be addressed – even for those newborn boys whose genital mutilations (for that is what circumcision is) are taken for granted. Every single child in the world deserves to have a right over what is done to his or her own body, and that right does not cut off at neonatal subsistence. It includes it. Why else should we be fighting, and what else are we fighting for if we cannot get this simple, fundamental principle correct? As we desperately cling to nonsensical traditions of old, we stymie the growth and liberty of the now and the ‘one day.’ Are we truly so selfish and stuck in our ways to not see that and do something about it? If we truly call ourselves lovers of liberty, then the answer to that question will fortunately be ‘no.’ Now only time (and action) will ultimately show the world whether or not we are hypocrites.
In the meantime, mourn for Chase – and never miss an opportunity to point out how immoral his father was for forcing the child to undergo this trauma against his wishes today.