New York – City: Orthodox Jewish Parents to Sign Consent Waiver Before Having Circumcision Ritual for Son

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    New York, NY – New York City health officials proposed on Tuesday that Orthodox Jewish parents be required to sign a consent waiver before they can take part in a circumcision ritual that is believed to have led to the deaths of at least two babies in the city over the past decade.

    The proposal, introduced at a Board of Health meeting, represents an escalation of the city’s efforts to curtail the ancient Jewish procedure of metzitzah b’peh, in which an adult male, usually the circumciser, places his mouth directly on the wound created by the removal of the infant’s foreskin to suck away the blood.

    Dr. Jay K. Varma, deputy commissioner for disease control for the health department, announced the city’s next step, proposing that the Board of Health, which approves public health policies, require all parents who want direct oral suction to be used to sign a consent form indicating that they are aware of the risk of infection.

    The mohel, or ritual circumciser, would distribute the consent forms to parents before the circumcision and keep them on hand for at least a year. The precise warning language would be written by health officials, Dr. Varma said.


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