NYC to Require Consent for Controversial Religious Circumcision

New York City's Board of Health voted 9-0 to require parental consent for a controversial ultra-Orthodox circumcision practice called metzitzah b’peh.

The new rule approved Thursday would require anyone performing the ritual to obtain written consent from a parent or guardian.

The parents will have to sign a form acknowledging that the city Health Department advises against the practice because of risks of herpes and other infections.

In the ritual, after the mohel, the person performing the circumcision, removes the foreskin, he briefly suctions the blood from the penis to clear the wound, before dressing it.

The Health Department says there have been 11 confirmed cases of herpes simplex since 2004 in newborn boys after circumcisions that likely involved direct oral suction. Two of the infants died.

Defenders of the practice said they will ignore the new rule.

Rabbi William Handler of Brooklyn said the circumcision ritual is 3,000 years old and is safe.

With the Associated Press