The City has ordered two unsanitary mohels to stop performing circumcisions after they were linked to infant herpes outbreaks. The De Blasio administration has not disclosed the names of the mohels.
In a bizarre turn of events, the city has placed the responsibility of protecting their children on the backs of parents. The Health Department has issued a statement asking parents to ask mohels if they are among those contaminated with the virus.
Mayor De Blasio issued a statement in which he claimed the decision to not disclose the names of the mohels was legally based.
“As far as we understand legally at this moment, because of the confidentiality rules relating to someone’s health status, we can’t publish the names overtly. We are looking for some pathway to do that appropriately. We can certainly tell those individuals they should stop participating in this practice and unfortunately, once they have herpes, it doesn’t go away.”
At present, it seems that the administration acquiescing and thereby sanctioning a form of state-mandated child abuse, as Mohels that practice metzizah b’peh are responsible for spreading herpes to six infants over the course of two years.
The mohel traditionally sucks the blood out of the infant’s penis immediately following circumcision.
Moreover, instead of taking direct responsibility for the lack of proper governmental oversight, state officials are blaming the process of circumcision in and of itself. Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Travis Bassett said at a City Council hearing that “the department considers this an unsafe practice ad we recommend that people not engage in it…the medical view is different from the religious view.” She added.
The question of the legality of the mezitzah b’peh and how the procedure should be regulated under state law exemplifies the divide and the sanctified separation of church and state and raise many important moral and ethical questions.
As it stands, a licensed medical doctor does not have to be the one performing the circumcision, opening the door for all kinds of miscarriages of power in the delicate relationship between an infant and is his protectors. On the other hand, the idea that religion is traditionally safeguarded against state intervention is a covenant that dates back to the old settlements at Jamestown.
Perhaps even more extraordinary is the city’s decision to allow the contaminated mohels to perform regular circumcision, while the ban extends only to the specialized circumcision that drains blood. If caught disobeying the government order, mohels face a $2,000 fine.
By: Natasha Spyer