Circumcision (And Other) Risks
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Circumcision (And Other) Risks

In a recent letter (“Bris Policy,” Aug. 15), “an outraged Jewish pediatrician” condemned a particular mohel, saying “he should be prosecuted” and stating that “oral suction is an unnecessary part of a bris and must be outlawed.” As a physician, I agree that suction is not a part of a medical circumcision, but the case at issue is a bris, not a medical circumcision. Lacking adequate learning in halacha (Jewish law), I cannot decide that metzitzah b’peh is “unnecessary,” but perhaps she is qualified to do so.

Morbidity and mortality associated with circumcision, however, is extraordinarily minimal, especially compared to parents not immunizing their children, or, because it may be difficult to find a babysitter at the last moment, sending them to day care or school when they have a cold or other infection. That their own and other children, including some who are immunocompromised, may suffer in these circumstances isn’t always considered, but is certainly justification for them ITAL. to be prosecuted.

The same is true for parents who go to work when ill for fear of losing pay or status. They put others at risk. And it is hard to condemn ritual circumcision when alcohol and tobacco are legal. They cause many orders of magnitude more disease and deaths. One might argue that the manufacturers and distributors of these product should be prosecuted.

In modern society there are many reasons for outrage. I have mentioned only a few. The particular choice of an outlet for condemnation in this case makes me wonder if the “outraged Jewish pediatrician” doesn’t have another agenda.

Mount Vernon, N.Y.

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