The administration of New York City’s hapless mayor, Bill de Blasio, wants to scrap the city’s informed consent forms mohels who do metzitzah b’peh (MBP, direct mouth-to-bleeding-penis sucking) after cutting off the baby’s foreskin, and replace the written informed consent with a verbal warning about MBP's dangers. But haredim, who are suing the city to try to force it to scuttle the informed consent, also refuse to agree to the verbal warning.
Hapless Mayor Appears Flummoxed By Haredi Refusal To Accept Circumcision Compromise
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The administration of New York City’s hapless mayor, Bill de Blasio, wants to scrap the city’s informed consent forms mohels who do metzitzah b’peh (MBP, direct mouth-to-bleeding-penis sucking) after cutting off the baby’s foreskin.
MBP is almost completely confined to the haredi community, although some unsuspecting parents from less rigid streams of Judaism have been shocked to see their 8-day-old boy’s penis briefly sucked during the circumcision ceremony. (For why haredim do MBP, see here. For its halakhic history, see here. For its history of killing children, see here.)
Haredim have vociferously opposed the informed consent as now formulated, and are currently suing the city in federal court, claiming the requirement is a violation of their freedom of religion as guaranteed by the US Constitution.
But it isn’t. The health and safety of children and defenseless vulnerable people trumps religious freedom, as the US Supreme Court has clearly ruled in other cases.
However, the hapless and ethically challenged de Blasio openly promised Satmar hasidim he would scrap the informed consent form in exchange for their block vote in the fall 2013 election. So now his administration wants to swap out the written informed consent form parents now are supposed to sign for a verbal warning from the mohel to parents explaining the dangers of MBP, the Daily News reported.
But even this is reportedly too much for Satmar to agree to. It wants no restrictions on circumcision at all – not even a simple verbal warning pointing out the danger of transmitting herpes and other communicable diseases to babies whose immune systems are so new and undeveloped, a herpes infection can kill them or maim them for life.
The Satmar rabbis and their allies in Agudath Israel of America (and, behind the scenes, Chabad-Lubavitch) are refusing to agree to the mayor’s plan.
“This is a delicate negotiation and we are not going to comment,” Rabbi David Niederman, a Satmar hasid who heads the powerful Satmar-dominated United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, told the Daily News.
De Blasio, who because of the medical evidence should really be demanding that MBP be banned altogether, appeared confused by the haredi opposition to the verbal warning.
“We believe the right policy here raises awareness of parents to the risks but is also respectful of religious freedom. We continue to discuss what this policy will be in conjunction with [haredi] community leaders,” mayoral spokeswoman Marti Adams said.
Until the advent of antibiotics and then anti-fungals, MBP killed hundreds or thousands of babies in cases that are documented in contemporaneous records – including in haredi rabbinic texts.
But even though the death rate has dropped dramatically as a result, the damage done to infants still exists.
For example, once contracted, herpes remains in the body for the person’s lifetime, and the person can (and almost certainly will) transmit it to others. Two recent studies have found that having herpes doubles a person’s risk of getting Alzheimer’s Disease.
[Hat Tip: Sfek-Sfaika.]