Friday, October 12, 2012

Suit Filed Challenging NYC Informed Consent Requirements For Certain Ritual Circumcisions

A widely anticipated lawsuit was filed in federal district court in New York yesterday challenging a recently adopted New York City Board of Health regulation requiring informed consent from parents before a controversial method is used in the Jewish religious circumcision of their infant sons. (See prior posting.) As reported by the Wall Street Journal, three Orthodox Jewish organizations and three rabbis sued challenging the city's new requirement that mohels who use metzitzah b'peh (oral suction) when circumcising infants first obtain signed written consent forms from parents warning them of the risk of transmission of diseases such as herpes simplex.  The suit contends that the city lacks proof that the procedure poses health risks, and that the regulation unconstitutionally forces private citizens to convey information they do not believe.

UPDATE: The full text of the complaint in Central Rabbinical Congress of the USA and Canada v. New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, (SD NY, filed 10/11/2012) is now available. The complaint asserts a compelled speech claim, as well as free exercise claims under the U.S. and New York state constitutions.