Last month, the Board of Health unanimously approved a circumcision consent form that requires parents to sign a waiver before their infant can undergo the "metzitzah b’peh"; ritual, the circumcision practice in which a mohel sucks the blood from a just snipped foreskin. Rabbis protested outside that meeting, claiming this decision was Bloomberg's "blood libel"—and now, they've sued the city, saying their First Amendment rights have been violated.
“Not only is the Department of Health wrong about metzitzah b’peh, it is trying to enforce erroneous opinions on the people of New York City,” spokesman Hank Sheinkopf said in a statement. “By essentially starting a public intimidation campaign that forces private citizens to spread the government’s beliefs, they are shaking the core of our democracy. We believe the courts will stop this overzealous government overreach and keep them out of our speech and religion.”
The lawsuit was filed by the Central Rabbinical Congress of the USA and Canada, Agudath Israel of America, International Bris Association and three rabbis, all of whom claims the city lacks “any definitive proof” that metzitzah b’peh “poses health risks of any kind, and in the face of the millennia-long track record of safety, the regulation would require mohelim to transmit the Department’s subjective opinion that MDP ‘should not be performed.’” We assume the fact that the CDC found a total of 11 baby Jewish boys in NYC were infected with herpes in the last decade doesn't count as proof at all.
City officials expected this though—the rabbis outside the DOH meeting said the lawsuit was already in the works that day—and plan to fight the suit: "The city's highest obligation is to protect its children; therefore, it is important that parents know the risks associated with the practice," said Health Commissioner Thomas Farley.