web analytics
August 29, 2015 / 14 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


To Inform or Not to Inform – That is the Question

With all the bacteria a mouth is known to contain - and the possibility that it might contain bacteria or viruses that are very harmful to a vulnerable 8-day-old child while an adult carrier might not even be aware of it - it is not exactly rocket science to know that putting your mouth on an open wound is not a good idea.
F120125YN03

Photo Credit: Yaakov Naumi/Flash90

The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) has just come out with a statement joining Agudah in opposition to the proposed NYC legislation requiring  “informed consent” before going ahead with Metzitza B’Peh (MbP). This is in spite of the fact that they do not recommend the procedure for their own constituents.

I assume the reason for this is that they believe this to be a church state issue. And that they believe that even signing a consent form about a religious practice is a violation of the constitutionally guaranteed right to practice one’s religion freely. And that it may be a slippery slope to further – more serious intervention in religious rights.

I don’t want to re-hash the whole argument here. But I have to admit being conflicted about it – because both sides have valid issues.

Every time an argument is made by one side which all seem like good arguments – the other side comes out with an equally good argument for their side. Here are the questions:

Where do you draw the line between protecting your citizens and freedom of religion?

On the other hand – how does signing a consent form interfere with religion?

On the other hand -when the risk is so low, is there really a need for a consent form?

On the other hand – why not inform even if the risk is low – if it is really there?

On the other hand – if informing the public about this is the main concern, why not simply require that parents be informed? Why require government documentation?

On the other hand –  will a policy of informing the public actually be implemented without the government requirement to document it?

On the other hand – if one segment feels that MbP is a religious requirement and the risk is so low, maybe those people should not be required to sign a consent form – since it might scare people away from it unnecessarily?

For me, preventing the mouth from coming into contact with an open wound makes a lot of sense. Even if there never was a single case of herpes ever reported – doing something like that seems like the height of folly!

With all the bacteria a mouth is known to contain – and the possibility that it might contain bacteria or viruses that are very harmful to a vulnerable 8-day-old child while an adult carrier might not even be aware of it – it is not exactly rocket science to know that putting your mouth on an open wound is not a good idea. Add to that the recent cases of Herpes that government health agencies like the CDC believe to be caused by MbP – opposition to it seems like a no brainer.

But then there are the arguments put forth by others based on different medical experts who say the statistical probability of contracting a disease from the mouth of a Mohel is so low and that reported cases of MbP infection by a Mohel remain unproven, that any regulation at all – even signing a consent form is an unnecessary infringement by the government on the religious rights of its citizens.Add to that the fear of the ‘slippery slope’ argument and all the tumult in the world about circumcision in general (e.g. the ban on it by a German court in Cologne until the age of consent) – and it seems like that is a good argument to fight that proposed legislation.

So after taking another look at it – at this point I am just not sure. I still tend to side with not opposing the legislation because I don’t think there is a slippery slope here. Nor do I think that interferes with the right of a parent to go ahead with MbP if he chooses to. All it does is inform him about the possible dangers.

Will it scare him away? If he is a Chasid, probably not. If he is not a Chasid, let it scare him away. What is lost if he does Metzitza in a more hygienic way without direct oral contact? [Note:  an overview of how metzitza b’peh is not halachically required previously on this blog].

I can actually hear both sides of the argument. But it may be a moot point. It appears the city of New York has just approved the legislation.

About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “To Inform or Not to Inform – That is the Question”

  1. When public policy and religion clash it really becomes a question of who is doing the right thing.

    In Germany, all the studies in favor of circumcision were ignored, and only the pain of the child was considered.So this was an extreme ban motivated by ulterior motives.

    In America we would never allow an eight year old girl to marry and have sexual relations with her husband because some religion permitted it.

    We are lucky to have freedom of religion, but not without any limits.

    Agudah believes in several controversial policies that others believe harm people.

    In general it supports what everyone would agree is in the public welfare.

    I think this is the first time I have seen RCA oppose the public health side of things(although I believe they are opposed to the policy itself).

    Nevertheless, I hope everyone will obey the new law that requires informed consent on this issue.

Comments are closed.

Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
Current Top Story
Former Arkansas Governor and current presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee in Jerusalem.
Official PA Media Calls Huckabee ‘Inane Creature’ and ‘Wicked Man’
Latest Blogs Stories
haredim-no-women-allowed-sign

The Halacha of shmirat einayim (guarding one’s eyes) is incumbent on the MAN; it’s his obligation

Doug Goldstein

Dem. presidential candidate Doug Shreffler talks about his campaign & its motto “as good as it gets”

Jewish Press Blogger, Jordana Brown

I’ve decided to move away from my safety net-and I wouldn’t change that decision for anything.

Was “Jerusalem” the song Matisyahu planned to perform? It was the PERFECT response to BDS campaign

If the world’s winds of hatred bring Jews to Israel we are ready, joyfully offering them a home here

At what age should the realization start setting in for kids that we live in an uncertain society?

Spain’s SeaWorld canceled Zionist-spy dolphin’s performance unless it supports a Palestinian state

How does the Iranian deal affect anti-terrorist legislation adopted by a number of US states?

Shabbat afternoon soccer games, a tradition in Israel’s league, may become a thing of the past.

Calling the Jewish Press‘closest thing to a frum English-language weekly’ insults the publication

So long as Jews dance for the sheer pleasure of thanking God, Israel will never be defeated!

Why are wealthy people less likely to gossip? So if you get rich you’ll cut down on Lashon Hora!

Matisyahu was bounced from a music festival because he wouldn’t sign pro-BDS, anti-Israel manifesto.

Danon is still young, perhaps one day he’ll succeed Bibi. Representing Israel in UN is good training

I think it has been a major tactical mistake for Israel to consider Iran a particularly Israeli problem. And it is of crucial importance for Israel and Israelis to stop thinking that we have any influence on international leaders when it comes to anything, including international policy re: Iran. That’s why I think that Yair […]

More Articles from Harry Maryles
haredim-no-women-allowed-sign

The Halacha of shmirat einayim (guarding one’s eyes) is incumbent on the MAN; it’s his obligation

"Women Not Allowed"

Calling the Jewish Press‘closest thing to a frum English-language weekly’ insults the publication

Professor Cohen’s quotes statistics proving Reform & Conservative Judaism are in free fall.

Most that struggle abandon observance altogether. Why did these 3 remain observant?

Esav Sonei L’Yaakov: Is this how we should think of all non Jews?

Surprisingly, many Hareidi communities do not advocate full time Kollel study for life as the ideal.

The phenomenon pushing limits of Orthodoxy to the extreme left has no chance of becoming mainstream

There needs to be clarity about what is & isn’t acceptable in Orthodoxy; That should be the debate.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/to-inform-or-not-to-inform-that-is-the-question/2012/09/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: