NEW YORK, Jan 10 (Reuters) – A Manhattan federal judge refused to block a New York City regulation requiring people who perform circumcisions and use their mouths to draw away blood from the wound on a baby’s penis to first obtain written consent from the parents.
U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald on Thursday refused to issue a preliminary injunction against the change to the city’s health code, which some members of the city’s Orthodox Jewish communities called an unwarranted government intrusion on religious freedom.
For a little background, I wrote about this back in September when this first came up. Rabbis in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community will perform “oral suction” of the wound created after circumcision. They claim it’s part of an ancient and holy custom. Modern medicine claims that it also greatly increases the risk of genital herpes, and at least one baby died from it already.
I tend to side with the people who act as though we’re ll living in the 21st century.
In September, the New York City Board of Health voted to require mohels, who perform circumcisions, to obtain advance consent that tells parents about the risk of a potentially fatal herpes infection linked to the ritual of metzitzah b’peh, or MBP, involving direct oral suction of the penis.
Oh, that’s much better. So as long as a couple of ultra-Orthodox parents agree with their ultra-Orthodox rabbi that he himself absolutely needs to personally suck the blood out of the circumcision wound of their ultra-Orthodox child – instead of doing it with a medically sterile instrument or maybe even skipping the whole Bronze-age genital-cutting thing to begin with – then everything is kosher.
So to speak.
The problem with this law – and the overall mentality – is that it doesn’t actually accomplish anything. So what if this process needs parental consent? It’s not as if it’s some kind of medically necessary procedure; in fact, it’s a needlessly dangerous one that is only being done because that’s the way it was always done. I know there are dumber reasons for doing things, but they are few in number.
“There is ample medical evidence that direct oral suction places infants at a serious risk of herpes infection, as well as evidence that parents are sometimes unaware in advance of a circumcision that MBP will occur, and the regulation plainly addresses these legitimate societal concerns,” [Judge] Buchwald wrote.
“As enacted, the regulation does no more than ensure that parents can make an informed decision” whether to consent, she added.
There should be no decision allowed. Sorry. This doesn’t affect them, but their infant who has absolutely no say in the matter. Again, if this were a needed surgery, then fine. But it’s a potentially deadly religious tradition that should be banned on the basis of the harm it presents to those involved.
As I’ve said in other posts: in what other context other than religion would such reasoning be considered valid? If you can’t think of any, then it should be prohibited altogether.