Several Jewish groups are suing New York City for their right to continue a controversial circumcision practice, which involves a rabbi sucking blood directly from an infant’s newly circumcised penis, without regulation. The city’s Board of Health recently ruled that parents must give written consent before the procedure is given.
Aside from being bizarre, this method of circumcision is also quite dangerous. Over the past decade, there have been 11 cases of herpes in infants that likely stemmed from the practice, two of which were fatal. So it only follows that the health department would want to enforce some regulations. But according to Harry Sheinkopf, spokesman for the Jewish groups suing the city, asking rabbis to get parental permission before putting their mouths on children’s penises is constitutes “public intimidation,” and is “shaking the core of our democracy.”
“The city’s highest obligation is to protect its children,” said health department commissioner Thomas A. Farley in a statement. “The health department’s written consent requirement is lawful, appropriate and necessary.”