web analytics
February 28, 2015 / 9 Adar , 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.


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
18,000 Iranian Centrifuges
Reducing Iran’s Number of Centrifuges Makes a Bomb More Likely
Latest Blogs Stories
Herzog & Livni

AMERICAN INTERFERENCE in ISRAELI ELECTIONS is IMMORAL and 1000% CHUTZPADIK!

Baruch Marzel (left) and Hanin Zoabi

Extremism from Jews is considered a “danger;” Arab extremism and anti-Jewish terror is “legitimate”

Gaza-flood-300x168

It was in fact Israel, not Palestinians or journalists, who began spreading the older photos, in order to generate credibility for the “slander” angle.

3 Episodes from the Book of Esther

Next week we celebrate Purim, more relevant and illuminating in light of current events than ever

“They all attack each other” is how David described campaign tactics. “Welcome to politics, my son,”

Most Israelis think kowtowing to US demands to get on Obama’s “good side” won’t work and isn’t right

Big questions this week: Does materialism make people happy? Can one be happy with what they have?

A Rosh Yeshiva guessed 60% of bochurim in Israel’s yeshiva system belong there only 3-4 yrs post HS

Wednesday evening 25th of February there’s just the event for Anglos to attend, The Anglo Vote!

3 men pin the terrorist. In the white shirt is Jerusalem’s Mayor Barkat, taking a hands-on approach

The necessity for setting financial goals and how to realize your life’s dreams.

Not long ago Israelis waited nightly during campaigns for TV broadcasts of election campaign movies

I heard men singing…I saw men dancing. Can you imagine? It’s literally FREEZING out there! WOW!

Lapid is not anti-Haredi; He’s pro-Haredi in his way, wanting them to flourish. and join society

Israelis don’t want anyone but Bibi as Prime Minister, no matter which party they plan to vote for.

B’Zechutan is the true Social Justice party, understanding the majority,the poor, the struggling

More Articles from Harry Maryles
Rabbi Pappenheim

Lapid is not anti-Haredi; He’s pro-Haredi in his way, wanting them to flourish. and join society

Copenhagen Great Synagogue

If Bibi is in the US already Pres. Obama MUST meet with the leader of America’s closest ally!

Sherut Leumi is the national service many women choose in lieu of military service-

My understanding of Footsteps is that they have no religious – or anti-religious agenda.

A violent confrontation between 2 groups erupted at the Ponevezh Yeshiva; dozens injured

There should be more information about intimacy disseminated to young people before they get married

Scenario: When you and your spouse got married you were on the same page religiously; now…

In the Hareidi world, Torah study is worshipped to the exclusion of all else. Nothing else matters

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: