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Health Highlights: Sept. 4, 2012

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Orthodox Rabbis Say They'd Ignore NYC Ban on Circumcision Ritua

If New York City enacts a proposed law requiring parental consent for a circumcision ritual linked to two infant deaths, ultra-orthodox rabbis say they will defy it.

During the 5,000-year-old ritual called metzitzah b'peh, a mohel removes the infant's foreskin and uses his mouth to stop the bleeding. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says at least 11 city infants are believed to have contracted herpes from the practice, two of whom died and two of whom have irreversible brain damage, ABC News reported.

Under the proposed law, mohels would be required to explain the oral suction procedure and its risks, and have parents sign a waiver. Ultra-orthodox rabbis insist the ritual is safe and say they refuse to tell parents there is any health risk to infants.

"This is the government forcing a rabbi practicing a religious ritual to tell his congregants it could hurt their child," Rabbi David Niederman, executive director of the United Jewish Organization of Williamsburgh, told ABC News. "If, God forbid, there was a danger, we would be the first to stop the practice."


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Posted: September 2012