Wednesday, September 9, 2015

NYC repeals Metzitzah B’Peh consent form regulation

JP New York City’s Board of Health on Wednesday voted to repeal the Metzitzah B’Peh consent form regulation, a few months after City Hall and the Orthodox Jewish community came to an agreement over the controversial matter imposed by former mayor Mike Bloomberg.

Nine board members voted in support of the repeal, including Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Chair of the Board of Health. Only one member voted against the proposal, while another one abstained.

Back in February, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an historic deal reached with representatives of the Orthodox Jewish community that would eliminate the consent form requirement over the practice of Metzitzah B’peh, in exchange for testing the mohel if a baby tests positive for the herpes virus.

In July, the Board of Health unanimously voted to consider the rule proposed by the mayor. “Norm changes have to come from within communities,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said at the hearing. “So it was very important to me that we reset our conversation with this community where the [consent form] rule had become a source of a great deal of anger and hostility.”

A public hearing to solicit comments on the de Blasio administration’s proposal  was held last month, but nobody showed up.

At the meeting, Health Commissioner  Bassett conceded that the city has yet to finalize the agreement with Orthodox on punishing mohels who infect infants, NYT reporter Mike Grynbaum reported.

The vote comes two years after mayor de Blasio pledged to the Orthodox Jewish community that he would act to repeal the regulation.

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