Brooklyn – In response to the city’s decision to overstep its authority and regulate the religious practice of metzitzah b’peh, Councilman David G. Greenfield has introduced legislation in the City Council that would prevent the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Board of Health from enacting or enforcing any regulation concerning circumcision. The proposed law comes after the city Board of Health voted last year to require parents to sign a consent form before their child undergoes the ancient tradition of metzitzah b’peh. This decision by the board to improperly regulate religion is currently being challenged in court by leaders from the Orthodox Jewish community. At the same time, Councilman Greenfield is pushing this legislation to prevent the city from continuing to enforce the requirement that parents must consent in writing before the ritual is performed.
“This is one of the most outrageous examples of government intruding into the ability of residents to freely practice their religion without restrictions based on questionable findings. I continue to be outraged that the city took this incredibly misguided step last year, and will fight until the board reverses its decision or this bill becomes law. It is imperative that every citizen, regardless of their particular religion, be able to practice and worship without the fear of being restricted or targeted by their own government,” said Councilman Greenfield.
In addition to supporting the community leader’s lawsuit challenging the city’s regulation and introducing this legislation, Councilman Greenfield has consistently and strongly spoken out against the regulation since it was passed last September. In addition, he recently joined his colleague Councilman Lew Fidler in voting against the reappointment of Dr. Lynne Richardson to the Board of Health at the August 22nd City Council Stated meeting in protest of her and the entire board’s vote.
“I am proud to stand up for what is right and defend our community, and everyone who practices religion in New York City, against this outrageous policy and the precedent it sets. Anyone who believes in religious freedom and is against government oversight should join me and my colleagues in opposing this and all other regulations that trample on our constitutionally-protected right to religious freedom,” added Councilman Greenfield.
The legislation was introduced at the September 12 City Council Stated meeting and has been referred to committee for hearings.