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De Blasio, Orthodox Jews Reach Agreement On Circumcision Ritual

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) - Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration says it has reached an agreement with members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community over a tradition known as oral suction circumcision.

City health officials have linked the practice to 17 cases of infant herpes since 2000 as a result of the person performing the ritual by sucking blood from the wound.

Mohels, the people who perform circumcisions, will no longer be required to obtain a signed consent form before the rite. If an infant is found to have herpes afterward, a rabbinical coalition will identify the mohel and he will undergo DNA testing.

De Blasio, Orthodox Jews Reach Agreement On Circumcision Ritual

If the mohel is found to have infected the infant, he will be banned from performing the ritual for life.

"And that's something that's actually never been done before here in New York City, so that's a very serious concession," City Councilman David Greenfield, of Brooklyn, told WCBS 880's Alex Silverman.

When asked why the health department would allow a procedure that could potentially make a baby sick, an administration official insisted a ban would just drive it undergrounds since the community sees it as the most important ritual in their religion.

Oral suction circumcisions first came under scrutiny during Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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