NEW YORK CITY: Board Of Health Repeals Consent Forms For “Snip-N-Suck” Circumcisions

Even though baby boys continue to contract herpes from their rabbis, yesterday the New York City Board Of Health repealed its requirement that Ultra Orthodox parents sign a Bloomberg-era consent form which warns them about a controversial circumcision ritual. Gothamist rants:

After a few years of toothless bureaucracy and a minimal amount of government involvement, New York City is a safer place today for herpes-ridden mohels to put their mouths on young boy’s freshly-circumcised penises, thanks to the Board of Health and Mayor de Blasio. The BOH voted this morning to nix the city’s circumcision consent forms that required Orthodox Jewish parents to sign a waiver before their infant could undergo the “metzitzah b’peh” ritual. This marks a victory for mohels with herpes and the people who enable them. The “metzitzah b’peh” ritual is the circumcision practice in which a mohel sucks the blood from a freshly snipped foreskin of a baby boy. Outside of the ultra-Orthodox community, the ritual is shunned by Jews, and is considered to be an ancient tradition based on “a long-discredited medical theory from the Iron Age before the dawn of the Common Era.” Under the Bloomberg administration, the Board of Health ruled that “parents need to be aware of the opinion of experts,” and unanimously passed the consent forms. The City was immediately sued by ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups who claimed their First Amendment rights were violated.

Yesterday’s repeal fulfills a campaign promise made by De Blasio to the Ultra Orthodox community. Nearly two dozen New York City boys are known to have contracted herpes from the ritual since 2000, most recently in April, and two have died. Gothamist notes that Israeli researchers believe the ritual to be linked to a “noticeably higher” rate of learning disabilities in Hasidic communities.