By Michael Gartland (NY Post)
March 16, 2017
If the Health Department doesn’t take a tougher stand on a controversial circumcision rite, the City Council says it will step in.
“We are looking into it at this moment,” Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said Thursday. “We are obviously going to see what the Department of Health, what action they take, and then decide what steps we will take.”
The Orthodox Jewish ritual known as metzitzah b’peh has led to cases of neonatal herpes since Mayor de Blasio hammered out a 2015 deal with religious leaders to eliminate a requirement that parents give written consent before the procedure is performed.
Since then, six infants have been infected during circumcisions where the ancient ritual was practiced.
But de Blasio has yet to enforce the agreement, which requires a rabbinical coalition to identify mohels who performs circumcisions and transmit the virus to infants.
The ritual, which involves a mohel sucking the blood from the incision on an infant’s penis, is permitted under the deal as long as infected mohels are identified then banned from the practice.
But the rabbinical coalition has yet to identify name four of the six mohels involved in the six cases.
The city Health Department said earlier this week it could go “back to the drawing board” on the city’s agreement, but still hasn’t issued alternatives.
The Council is currently weighing its options and is in conversations with the mayor’s office, Mark-Viverito said. She declined to provide a time frame for action.
“This is something that is a concern to a lot of people,” she said. “We are looking into what options we may have available.”