CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Tuesday, October 24, 2006.

Judge rules against boy’s circumcision

By Judy Peres
Tribune staff reporter
Published October 24, 2006, 10:48 AM CDT

In a case that has been closely watched by anti-circumcision groups nationwide, a Cook County judge today ruled that a 9-year-old Northbrook boy should not be circumcised against his will.

The court battle pitted the boy's divorced parents against each other, with the mother and her new husband claiming that the operation was necessary to prevent recurrent irritation and infection. The boy's father sought an injunction to bar the circumcision.

The Tribune is not naming the parents in order to protect the boy's privacy.

In a written opinion handed down today, Circuit Judge Jordan Kaplan found that "the evidence was conflicting and inconclusive as to any past infections or irritations that may have been suffered by the child."

"Moreover," he continued, "this court also finds that medical evidence as provided by the testimony of the expert witnesses for each of the parties is inconclusive as to the medical benefits or non-benefits of circumcision as it relates to the 9-year-old child."

The case was a clear victory for the growing number of so-called "intactivist groups" across the country that have argued that circumcision is harmful and violates the rights of children who are not old enough to consent to the irreversible medical procedure.

Kaplan, who also cited the irreversible nature of the operation, said his order would remain in effect until the boy turns 18, when he can decide for himself whether or not he wants to be circumcised.

The father said he was relieved by the decision and "so happy."

His lawyer, Alan Toback, said, "We always thought it was not in the child's best interest to have a circumcision at age 9 that was not medically necessary, and the judge agreed."

The mother's lawyer, Tracy Rizzo, was not in court due to the death of her father, famed Chicago private investigator Ernie Rizzo. The mother was represented instead by Gail O'Connor, who indicated there would be no appeal.

"We're disappointed of course, but we will abide by the injunction," she said.

The parents divorced in 2003. The mother has custody of the boy, but under a parenting agreement reached as part of the divorce was obligated to consult her ex-husband regarding any non-emergency medical care for the child.

Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune

(File created 24 October 2006)