Last week, two more infants in New York City contracted herpes as a direct result from circumcision. Orthodox Rabbis often use a technique called “oral suction” after cutting off the foreskin of an infant’s penis. This exposes the newborns to the Rabbi’s saliva, which in these cases has caused the babies to contract the herpes virus.
Herpes can be extremely dangerous to infants. In some cases, infants have died from the virus and in other cases, it has caused brain damage. There are certainly some cases in which circumcision may have some actual medical benefits but in most cases that simply is not the true. According to a 1999 American Medical Association report, the health benefits for circumcision are not sufficient enough to be recommended as routine:
“Although potential medical benefits are associated with newborn male circumcision, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine performance of this procedure on medical grounds. However, in the United States, parental decision-making appears to be based on social and cultural rather than medical concerns.”
“There is strong evidence documenting the health benefits of male circumcision, and it is a low-risk procedure,” said Peter W. Carmel, M.D., AMA president. “Today the AMA again made it clear that it will oppose any attempts to intrude into legitimate medical practice and the informed choices of patients.”
While the AMA cannot recommend circumcision as a routine procedure, they are opposed to banning the procedure. But that really isn’t the issue with the current situation in New York. There is simply no medical benefit for allowing a non-medically trained, religious leader to not only cut off part of a baby boy’s penis, but also allow him to put his lips around it.
According to Jewish custom, God told Abraham that all Jews must be circumcised. Apparently, God forgot to cut the foreskin when he created Adam -- it must of slipped his mind or something. In any case, this was to be the Jews covenant with God. It is important to note that there is no age requirement demanding circumcision before a particular age in the Jewish culture so there should be no problem with waiting until young boys have reached the age of consent before attempting to hack off part of their penis and allowing a Rabbi to suck it off. But then again, what teen-aged boy would consent to having part of their penis cut off and what holy leader would want to put their lips around a young boy’s penis… oh wait… never mind.