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Published On: Sun, Oct 14th, 2012

Rabbis file lawsuit over N.Y.C. metzitzah b’peh regulations

In response to a New York City Board of Health regulation passed in September, three rabbis and several Jewish organizations filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court Thursday seeking an injunction against city Department of Health circumcision regulations set to take effect later this month according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Public domain image/Franklin Baldo via Wikimedia Commons

The new rule, which take effect Oct. 21, requires mohels who perform the metzitzah b’peh, a post-circumcision ritual that involves oral suction in order to stimulate blood flow in the traumatized organ, to provide parents with a document they must sign, containing information about the health risks involved.

The plaintiffs say the new NY City regulations violates the First Amendment.

“By essentially starting a public intimidation campaign that forces private citizens to spread the government’s beliefs, they are shaking the core of our democracy. We believe the courts will stop this overzealous government overreach and keep them out of our speech and religion”, says Hank Sheinkopf, a spokesman representing those filing the lawsuit.

According to the WSJ report, the lawsuit filed by the Central Rabbinical Congress of the USA and Canada, Agudath Israel of America, International Bris Association and three rabbis claims that city’s regulation lacks “any definitive proof” that metzitzah b’peh “poses health risks of any kind, and in the face of the millennia-long track record of safety, the regulation would require mohelim to transmit the Department’s subjective opinion that MDP ‘should not be performed.’”

This comes after a CDC report released this summer revealed  11 cases of male infants infected with the herpes virus after this procedure occurred between November 2000 and December 2011. They say that ten of the 11 newborns were hospitalized; two died.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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