Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rabbinical Assemby supports parental consenet for controversial circumcision practice

A Conservative rabbinic group is supporting a proposed New York City Board of Health measure that requires parental consent for a controversial circumcision practice, while an Orthodox group opposes the regulation.

The health department is scheduled to vote this week on a measure that would require parental consent if a mohel wants to obtain a waiver for the use of direct oral-genital suction, known as metzitzah b'peh. The form would indicate that parents are aware of the risk of infection.

The Conservative movement's Rabbinical Assembly applauded the commissioner's push for parental consent, while the the Rabbinical Council of America expressed discontent with the prospect of regulation on the matter. However, the RCA advocates for safer practices.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik, president of the Rabbinical Assembly, in a statement released on Monday said, “This practice, which is not required by Jewish law, and emanates from older practices designed to prevent illnesses that precede current medical knowledge about disease, presents a serious health risk to babies and is inconsistent with the Jewish tradition’s preeminent concern with human life and health. There have been tragic incidents of babies becoming ill as a result of this practice, and we encourage the Board of Health to require parental consent.” -- JTA

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