The ancient practice of metzitzah b'peh, direct oral suction, is still practiced by ultra-Orthodox Jews as part of the religious rite of male newborn circumcision. Between 2000 and 2011, 11 children have died in New York and New Jersey, following infection by herpes simplex virus, presumably from infected practitioners. The City responded by requiring signed parental consent before oral suction, with parents being warned of the dangers of the practice. This essay argues that informed consent is not an appropriate response to this problem. An outright ban would a better response to a practice that is dangerous to children, but might prove unconstitutional under New York State law.
- Newborns and Minors
- Public Health Ethics
- Religious Ethics
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