New ordinance requires parental consent for controversial circumcision ritual
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While some people may believe that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) only affect sexually active population, they would be wrong. According to WebMD, many STDs can be passed from mother to child, such as syphilis, gonorrhea and herpes. These infections can have dangerous consequences. For example, gonorrhea can lead to blindness or joint infections in infants.
Over the past few months, a controversial Orthodox Jewish circumcision ritual has been in the spotlight, since it was discovered that the tradition may increase an infant's chance of developing herpes. During the ritual, a Rabbi sucks the blood out of a baby's circumcision cut using his mouth. It was discovered that between 2004 and 2011, 11 babies develop herpes following this ceremony, and two of them died of the infection. Now, the New York Times is reporting that The New York City Board of Health unanimously passed a regulation requiring a signed parental consent form before this ritual can occur.
"In an effort to educate parents about the health risks, the city will now require ritual circumcisers to inform parents in writing that they will have direct oral contact with their infant’s circumcision wound, and receive their signed consent before doing so. The form states that the health department advises against the procedure because of the risk of herpes transmission," according to the news source.
However, not everyone is happy about this new ordinance. Rabbi William Handler told the news source that this procedure is safe when done correctly, and is an important part of ultra-Orthodox Jewish tradition.
Failure to comply with the ordinance may result in fines for the mohelim who conducts the ritual. However, there are no mandatory punishments, and this law may prove to be difficult to enforce.
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