New York City's regulation of a Jewish tradition does little more than add to a growing aura of hostility and ignorance surrounding a health decision.
In 2011, San Francisco placed a proposal to ban circumcision on its November ballot. In June 2012, a court in Germany issued an order banning circumcision. And this September, the New York City Health Department voted to regulate a practice called "metzizah b'peh," practiced by many Jews of Eastern European origin, in which the blood from the incision is removed by direct oral suction.
Normally this last, which mandates a consent form outlining the possible (albeit disputed) risks of oral suction, might be seen as a fairly harmless move -- little more than an expression of Mayor Bloomberg's general fondness for regulation. However, in the atmosphere created by the previous two attempted bans, it will do little more than add to a growing aura of hostility toward circumcision. In the minds of many, it will be lumped together with the previous two proposed bans as a direct attack on religious practice.
Nor will anyone's concerns be assuaged if they are brave enough to read the comments to any of the articles on the subject, which always include a slew of opinions calling circumcision "child abuse" and suggesting that its practitioners should be thrown into prison. To select one relatively mild comment on a New York Times article, which was at one point the top "readers pick" comment: "Should the authority of parents over the life of their child extend to making permanent and unnecessary changes to their child's anatomy based solely on their own whims (even if those whims are based in religious beliefs?)"