Mayor Michael Bloomberg started a campaign to make ritual circumcision safer. His main objective was to stop the ancient practice of metzitzah b’peh, which is when oral suction is used to stop bleeding during a circumcision. Most moyels no longer practice metzitzah or, if they do, use a glass tube rather than direct contact with the infant.
Since the year 2000, 12 infants in New York have suffered infections from the practice. Two of those died and 2 suffered brain damage. For this reason, in September of 2012, the New York Department of Health started requiring moyels who wanted to continue the practice to ask the parents of the infant to sign a form notifying them of the practice and asking for their consent. Legality of the form is being contested by lawyers representing those moyels who practice metzizah, their defense based on freedom of the religion as guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.