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Judge: Boy will Grow to be an Uncut Man

Chicago- A 9-year-old suburban boy will not be circumcised as his mother wishes, a judge ruled Tuesday — a victory for the child’s father, who called the procedure “not necessary.”

Cook County Circuit Judge Jordan Kaplan said he was unconvinced by experts for the mother who maintained that circumcision would help stem the boy’s recurring irritation and infections.

“My child is the most important thing to me. But it’s absolutely not necessary,” said the father, a 50-year-old apartment manager from Arlington Heights.

The mother, a Northbrook homemaker who has remarried, was disappointed with the ruling, said her attorney, Gail O’Connor.

“She was trying to do what she felt best for her child. It was about the child’s health,” said O’Connor.

Kaplan noted that the boy did not want to be circumcised and that the child’s stepfather described the boy as “anxious” over the procedure, which involves removal of foreskin from the penis. The father admitted he had shown the boy graphic pictures of a circumcision.

The closely watched case put a spotlight on a procedure which, for the last 10 years in the United States, has been dropping in popularity. In 2003, about 56 percent of American boys were circumcised, down from 64.7 percent in 1980, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

After the boy’s parents split in 2003, the mother was awarded sole custody but the divorce settlement provided that any “extraordinary” health care procedure required approval of the father.

Two weeks before the boy was to be circumcised, the child told his father oe impending operation. The father objected and filed suit after being unable to talk the mother out of the plan.

The father, an immigrant from Poland — where circumcision is less prevalent than in the United States — said he is not circumcised and that it is not part of his family’s tradition.

The father had a right to object and “the evidence did not establish that circumcision was medically necessary at the present time,” the judge ruled.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says circumcision does “have some potential medical benefits” but they “are not compelling enough” to label it as a medically necessary. Some researchers have argued that circumcision helps protect against urinary tract infection, HIV infection and penile cancer.

The case revealed some hard feelings between the couple, whom the Sun-Times is not naming in order to protect the boy’s anonymity.

A lawyer for the father suggested the mother wanted her son circumcised so that he would look more like her new husband.

Her lawyers pointed to court records that show the boy’s father has failed to provide proper financial support for the boy in the past.

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