COURIER NEWS, Bridgewater, New Jersey,
12 October 2000.

Circumcision of boy, 3, postponed
Staff Writer

Published in the Courier News on October 12, 2000

RARITAN BOROUGH -- A father called off a protest of his son's scheduled circumcision Wednesday after the doctor canceled the surgery.

Jim Price had vowed to sue a pediatric urologist if he carried out surgery today for which his estranged wife, Jennifer Price, won a court ruling in August. Judge Paul Armstrong ruled in her favor based on two doctors' reports that the surgery would correct inflammatory problems suffered by the couple's 3-year-old son, Matthew.

But the matter of whether Matthew will be circumcised is not over.

Mrs. Price's attorney, Ron Heymann, was headed to Judge Armstrong's court today to seek a "remedy" against the father's legal threats. And instead of marching outside Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick with supporters Wednesday, Mr. Price spent a large portion of the day conferring with lawyers over his next legal move.

"We're willing to go to the Supreme Court," Mr. Price said.

The urologist did not return a call for comment and a hospital spokesman also declined comment, citing protection of the family.

At issue is whether the boy needs the surgery to avoid recurrent infections. Mr. Price said his son no longer has problems which he believes were caused by a doctor's improper treatment. But Heymann said two doctors have recommended the surgery.

Mr. Price and two lawyers met Wednesday to plan a strategy to stay Judge Armstrong's order.

The controversy brought him an avalanche of phone calls and e-mails from people with personal stories of circumcision harm, activists who oppose circumcision and even supporters promising to help pay for Price's defense of his stand.

The outpouring came from all over North America, and Mr. Price said the issue was even discussed in Hawaii. He expects to tape a television interview today, he said, declining to name the station.

Since his story appeared in the Courier News, Mr. Price said, "The phone just rang off the hook."

He said he did not realize the depth of concern over circumcision. Personally, he said, "It's definitely not necessary for my son -- I don't want any harm to come to my son."

Circumcision, routinely performed for decades on male infants in the United States for health or religious reasons, has come into question by some medical professionals as well as by people who say male or female circumcision is nothing more than genital mutilation. A search on the Internet yields lengthy histories of the surgery, religious beliefs for its use and sources where opponents organize against it.

The American Pediatric Association came out in March 1999 with a position of not recommending routine circumcision, saying parents must weigh the benefits and risks and make an informed decision. The group's stand was based on research going back 40 years. Since 1971, the academy has concluded in its manual for newborn care that there is no absolute medical reason for routine circumcision.

The new policy also states that if parents choose circumcision, pain relief for the patient is essential.

from the Courier News

Published on October 12, 2000

Cite as:
(File prepared 12 October 2000)

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