NYC Panel to Regulate Circumcision Rite
Consent forms will be required for ‘metzitzah b’peh’
The New York City board of health has unanimously passed a regulation requiring that parents sign a consent form before the circumcision practice known as metzitzah b’peh can be carried out by a mohel. The rite, in which the mohel uses his mouth to remove blood from the incision, is a prevalent custom in some ultra-Orthodox communities.
In recent years, the practice has come under fire from doctors and health officials.
Infectious disease experts widely agree that the oral contact creates a risk of transmission of herpes that can be deadly to infants, because of their underdeveloped immune systems. Between 2004 and 2011, the city learned of 11 herpes infections it said were most likely caused by the practice. Two of those babies died; at least two others suffered brain damage.
In recent months, rabbis, citing infringement on religious practice, have threatened to sue the city if measures against the rite are enacted. On the other side of the issue, a number of medical professionals have spoken out heatedly against the practice being allowed at all. After the measure passed (which has seemingly toothless penalties), one of the panel members, Dr. Joel A. Forman said that “it’s crazy that we allow this to go on.”
In many ways, this measure is a happy medium between allowing a controversial religious custom to continue unfettered and banishing the practice altogether. As expected, neither side is happy though.
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.