This is a matter of great urgency. Last week, New Yorkers learned that yet another newborn has contracted herpes after undergoing a brit milah, a ritual circumcision, that included MBP. The failure to put an end to a practice that is killing and maiming children is political cowardice. De Blasio is not the first mayor to confront the problem; he inherited it from his predecessor, who should have done something to stop it and did not. Nonetheless, it is on de Blasio’s plate now, and the city looks to him to find a solution before more lives are lost or irreversibly damaged.
The risks of MBP are well-known. Jewish religious authorities have been worried about the health dangers since the 1830s. More recently, health officials have noted that when oral suction is carried out by someone infected with oral herpes, the procedure is potentially fatal to infants, who have an undeveloped immune system. Israeli pediatricians raised the issue in 2004, and in 2005, the Commissioner of the New York Department of Public Health called for MBP to be halted. In 2012, the department’s deputy commissioner for disease control declared emphatically that “there is no safe way to perform oral suction on an open wound in a newborn.”
View PDF of entire article: Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, N.Y. mayor must outlaw dangerous circumcision rite before another baby dies, Haaretz