Blood-sucking circumcision practice continues

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The topic of infant male circumcision is controversial in many circles; some deem it as ‘male genital mutilation’ or ‘forced mutilation of boys’ while others consider circumcision to be a harmless and healthy procedure (this post won’t be about the merits of either position). Persons in both camps of thought may be able to object to an ‘ancient Jewish ritual’ deemed metzitzah b’pheh in which a grown Jewish man — a mohel — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “places his mouth directly on the newly circumcised penis and sucks blood away from the circumcision.”

New York City’s Board of Health, being quite aware of this practice and the possible dangers it can result in, has not put a stop to this oral section ritual or place restrictions on circumcision practices, but rather has simply asked mohels “to provide parents with a document informing them of the possibility of harm” according to New York Daily News. Even if waivers are not signed, the article says, there are no penalties.

The author writing the referred to article noted that New York City has struck an appropriate balance when considering balancing governmental authority and religious doctrine.

I could not disagree more. Setting the moral issues concerning the circumcision ritual (and circumcision itself) aside, the article notes that real harm can come from these rituals – 11 children in the last 12 years have likely contracted herpes from rituals which led to two deaths and two “very serious injuries.” The CDC additionally notes that circumcision should be performed under sterile conditions.

How far will people and governments ignore serious health risks for male boys while excusing away harm in the name of their version of religious freedom?

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