Friday, September 14, 2012

NYC Approves Informed Consent Requirement For Controversial Circumcision Procedure; Court Challenge Planned

The New York Times reports that yesterday the 9-member New York City Board of Health voted unanimously to approve a proposed rule that requires informed consent from a parent or guardian in a Jewish ritual circumcision where a mohel will use the controversial procedure known as metzitzah b’peh.  The procedure, whose use is limited to certain Orthodox Jewish ritual circumcisions, involves use of the mohel's mouth-- rather than the more commonly used sterile pipette-- to suction blood from the circumcision site. Parents or guardians will be required to sign a consent that warns of the risks involved in the procedure, including possible passing on of herpes simplex infection. (See prior related posting.) Some Board members thought they should go further and ban the oral suction procedure completely.  According to Jewish Voice, Agudath Israel of America is planning to sue to challenge the newly approved regulation on free exercise and compelled speech grounds. It is seeking a law firm that will bring the suit on a pro bono or reduced fee basis.