Wednesday, March 11, 2015

NYC Vote on Metzizah b'peh delayed

A proposal to quash a requisite signed parental consent for a ritual circumcision rite set to be presented to the New York Board of Health was postponed, according to published reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported that NYC officials said that the metzitzah b’peh plan would be presented to the Board of Health in June and voted on at the next meeting. In February, a coalition of rabbinic leaders and city officials said they reached an agreement on the controversial ritual and that the proposal would be presented to the board this month.

“The administration and the coalition of religious leaders are formalizing specific terms of the agreement around metzitzah b’peh,” the city said in a statement from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released Monday, according to the newspaper.

The Wall Street Journal quoted an unnamed source familiar with the negotiations as saying that the delay was “largely related to the city working out the specifics on how public health investigations will be conducted.” There also were some legal issues, according to the source.

The tradition of metzizah b'peh is known colloquially as oral suction circumcision and requires the mohel (ritual circumciser) to suck the blood from the wound on the child's genitals.

The practice has been linked to 17 cases of herpes since 2000 and two babies have died and others have suffered brain injuries. This has raised many questions for New York City health administrators who are strongly opposed to the continuation of the tradition.

The AP has reported that oral suction circumcisions first came under scrutiny during Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration, and the city’s health board voted in 2012 to regulate the practice by asking a parent or guardian to sign a consent form indicating possible risks.

Under the agreement, if an infant is found to have herpes associated with the ritual, the mohel will be tested for that strain of the virus, and if discovered to carry it will be banned for life from performing the ritual.

In August, a federal appeals court called for a review of the New York City law related to metzitzah b’peh, saying that under the federal guarantee of free exercise of religion, the law is subject to “strict scrutiny.”

The delay was not a concern at all to David Niederman, the president of United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn, and a rabbi involved in the negotiations with the city over the policy.

“The mayor has personally committed to ensure public safety in a very responsible and collaborative way with the community,” Rabbi Niederman said. “These delays, I understand, are procedural stuff with the city. I have no doubt that everyone is on the same page and that this issue is going to be resolved to the satisfaction of all concerned.” source

1 comment:

  1. What's truly sad is that infants will continue to get seriously ill despite indirect metzitzah b
    peh being a legitimate option. Why will these groups insist on direct MBP? Because the nassssty goyim say it's dangerous so we'll show them! Never mind the suffering it'll cause, we have a point to make!