Yerachmiel Simins

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NYC Set To Regualate Metzitzah B'peh

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (“DOH”) has proposed an amendment to the NYC. Health code to require written parental consent prior to circumcision with oral suction (metzitzah b’peh, or “mbp”). This would be first time in US history that government legislated against any aspect of bris milah. Although legally requiring parental consent might seem an innocuous protocol to ensure informed choice, the DOH’s stated justification is to “protect” infants from “out-of-hospital” circumcisions. Ironically, a DOH report of recent cases of infectious disease, purporting to show the risk of doing mbp, actually documents its safety. This is dangerous for both public health and bris milah, for the DOH’s continued targeting of mbp in these cases overlooks their real causes and allows them to continue -- and sets the stage for future cases which public health officials might then cite as “evidence” for further action.

CDC Uses Flawed Report To Denounce Metzitzah B'peh

The Centers for Disease Control, an agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services, just published a report stating that the risk for herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) following circumcision with oral suction, or metzitzah b’peh (mbp), was over 3 times greater than among male infants who did not have mbp. However, a closer examination of the data and methodology set forth in the report could point to a contrary conclusion – the risk of HSV-1 with or without mbp may be statistically the same. If so, the demonization of mbp caused by this report may lead public health officials away from addressing some real – and avoidable – causes of neonatal HSV-1.

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