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Childrearing

Three Arrested After Grandparents Circumcise Baby Without Mother’s Consent

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Police in the U.K. arrested three people this week after a furious, anti-circumcision mother says her baby’s grandparents secretly circumcised him without her consent.

According to The BBC, in 2013 a mother left her three-month-old baby in the care of his father’s parents. The baby’s parents were reportedly only together for a short time, but the mother said she thought it was important for the baby to know that side of his family, so she left him with his paternal grandparents. When she got him back and changed his diaper, she says she discovered blood all over.

The grandparents had the baby circumcised while she was gone.

“I opened the nappy and I ended up having to leave the room because I felt hysterical,” she said. “It was just awful really, it wasn’t very nice, there was all blood there and stuff.”

According to The Independent, the baby’s grandparents are Muslim and practice circumcision for religious reasons. The mother strongly opposes circumcision, and she reported the incident to social services immediately after it happened. Then she reported it to the police.

Circumcision is only legal in the U.K. if both parents consent.

It’s not clear what the father’s position in all this is, but in the mother very much did not consent to the procedure.

The circumcision happened in 2013, and the mother fought for years to have the people who circumcised her son brought to justic. She says it’s been like complaining to “a brick wall.”

“Even a couple of police officers have made remarks like ‘Oh my husband is circumcised, I think it’s better’. Or ‘Oh they are tougher than they look, it will toughen him up,'” she told the BBC.

The police originally investigated and decided not to consider it a criminal matter, but the mother later teamed up with an anti-circumcision group and a top human rights lawyer took her case. Then police reopened the case and arrested three people, believed to be the baby’s paternal grandparents and the doctor who circumcised the baby.

Not only does the mother oppose male circumcision in general, she says the doctor who performed her son’s botched it, too. Now the boy regularly has infections and pain. She’s says he might need another surgery when he gets older.

“It looks like he’s been half circumcised is the only way to describe it. There’s half the skin, it’s not all the way over,” she said. “It swells up, it gets red and a little bit sore in places.”

Circumcision is a contentious topic. Some people believe strongly in circumcision, while others oppose it with equal passion. But it is not OK for a set of grandparents to secretly circumcise a baby against his mother’s wishes. The police should have taken her complaint seriously when she made it.

(Image: iStockPhoto / Kuzmik_A)

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