Following the news that eleven New York City babies from 2000 to 2011 were infected with herpes during at-home circumcisions performed by mohels using oral suction, the Health Department is proposing that Orthodox Jewish parents be required to sign a waiver before allowing their children to undergo the ritual. According to the Times, many hospitals have agreed to give parents considering at-home circumcisions pamphlets warning them of the risks involved, but this waiver would force parents to acknowledge that infection is possible.

Around 3,600 newborn boys a year in the New York City area undergo the process, in which the mohel places his mouth directly on the newly circumcised penis and sucks blood from the wound. The CDC estimates that 20,493 baby boys in the past six years could have potentially had direct orogential suction. Ten of the eleven babies were hospitalized after contracting herpes from the mohel, two suffered brain damage and two more died.

“Since we are regulating how part of a religious procedure is done, this will be heavily scrutinized by legal experts, and it may be challenged at some point,” Dr. Jay Varma, the Health Department's deputy commissioner for disease control said. “But we feel we are on very firm legal ground, because there is a compelling interest on behalf of the city in protecting the health of infants.”