A Florida mother has an arrest warrant out for her and remains in hiding with her 4-year-old son after refusing to appear in court last week to hand over the boy to be circumcised.
A lawyer for the woman, Heather Hironimus, said the boy is "scared to death of the procedure and doesn't want it."
"There have been no safeguards put in place to protect the child's psychological and emotional condition with regards to this surgery," the attorney, Thomas Hunker, told the SunSentinel last week.
The case has dragged on for more than a year and garnered national media attention, as the boy's estranged parents – neither of whom is Jewish – duke it out in court over whether he should be circumcised.
The boy's father, Dennis Nebus, testified last year that he thinks circumcision is "just the normal thing to do," according to the SunSentinel, which says Nebus claims his son has a condition called phimosis which prevents retraction of the foreskin and causes the boy to urinate on his leg. The mother refutes this.
Usually such cases withhold the child's name from the media, but in this case, Hironimus started a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe that included her son's name – Chase – and his picture. The GoFundMe campaign has since been removed.
She has appealed to other anti-circumcision activists, writing that she was pleading with them to "help me save my son, his foreskin, his rights and hopefully other children from allowing the ‘system’ to make these decisions,” according to the New Times Broward-Palm Beach.
The use of Chase's name and image has outraged the judge in the case who called Hironimus' ties with anti-circumcision advocates a “direct, contemptuous violation” of court orders.
“I hate to see this child made into a spectacle,” Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Dana Gillen said in one hearing.
Meanwhile, Amber Baxley, a stay-at-home mother from South Carolina has launched a Facebook campaign called "Chase's Guardians" aimed at raising money online to help pay Hironimus' legal fees. Vocativ reports that it has raised more than $35,000 to fight the circumcision order.
The page has garnered more than 8,500 likes to date.
“We all feel like this is our son,” Baxley told Vocativ. “We’re fighting tooth-and-nail against this abhorrent, disgusting decision.”
Anti-circumcision advocates have also launched an online petition to send emails to the judge in the case "pleading for Chase's protection." Thus far more than 2,100 forms have been filled out on the savingchase.org site; their goal is 5,000.
Hironimus' lawyers have requested that Chase undergo a mental evaluation to see if he's emotionally capable of having a circumcision.
Last month, protesters gathered outside the office of a South Florida surgeon who was scheduled to perform the contested procedure.