After hearing about the unnecessary and tragic deaths of two infants who contracted herpes after undergoing a circumcision ritual in New York, I couldn't help but be appalled and heartbroken for those poor parents who trusted their mohels to perform the procedure safely. The mohels used a circumcision method called metzitzah b'peh, in which the mohel uses his mouth to stop the bleeding after the baby's foreskin is removed. In addition to the two babies who died after contracting herpes from their mohel, two others were left with devastating brain damage from the disease.
And now that there are Ultra-Orthodox rabbis who say they will defy a law (if it goes into act) that requires parental consent when this particular method of circumcision is going to be used, I'm absolutely outraged. Because those parents have every right to know exactly how their baby sons are going to be circumcised before allowing the ritual to take place.
I've attended a briss before, so I know just how important the circumcision ceremony is to Jewish parents. And even though the Ultra-Orthodox sector may have used the oral-suction circumcision method safely in the past, due to the recent deaths, parents should be the ones to decide how the mohel will perform the ritual on their son.
There have already been several complaints from parents who were unaware that oral-suction was going to be used during their sons' circumcisions. And if this new law goes into effect, they will be required to sign a consent form before allowing the method to take place.
And according to Rabbi David Neiderman, "This is the government forcing a rabbi practicing a religious ritual to tell his congregants it could hurt their child." He insists that the practice is safe, and also feels that the consent form forces parents to go against their belief system. He said, "Don’t force parents to sign something that is against their religious beliefs."
Ok, I'm a little bit confused. I'm no genius, but don't you think the parents who decide to sign the consent form are probably ok with the mohel using the oral-suction method of circumcision? The proposed law isn't being suggested to force anyone to go against their beliefs -- it's an effort to protect parents who are understandably worried about the health and safety of their infant and do not under any means want oral-suction used during their baby's circumcision.
It's not like this law would make the ritual illegal, it would simply make having the parents' consent a prerequisite. Since when is having the parents' permission before performing any sort of surgery a foreign thing? If anything, having the consent form will only protect the mohels should anything go wrong during the circumcision. The law is a win-win for everyone involved, especially for parents who want to honor their religion, yet protect their babies at the same time.
Do you think there should be a law requiring parental consent for this method of circumcision?
Image via handmaidenbymaria/Flickr
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