The de Blasio administration has agreed to abandon a city requirement that practitioners of ritual circumcision in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community obtain written parental consent before performing oral suction on the baby boy's wound.
Instead, under a tentative plan, the city will conduct DNA testing on the circumciser -- known in Hebrew as a mohel -- if a baby is infected with herpes. The mohel would be blacklisted from performing the ritual if a link comes back positive with the infected baby.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio said a plan is still being developed for any situation under which a mohel tests positive for herpes but isn't conclusively tied to the infection.
The agreement settles a long-running dispute between the city and members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community over the part of the circumcision ritual known as metzizah b'peh. Most Jewish circumcisions do not include the practice.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration introduced the consent requirement in 2013 after more than a dozen babies were infected from 2000 to 2011 and two died.
A message left with a religious coalition that sued the city over the requirement was not immediately returned.
A de Blasio administration official -- identified only by gender in a call with reporters -- defended the accord as the best way to protect children. She said that the community would not stop practicing the ritual "no matter what we say."
She said that the city and the Orthodox leaders "agreed to disagree" on whether the procedure risks transmitting herpes. A ban, she said, would only drive the practice underground and hinder ability to track it.
"By antagonizing the community," she said, "we will get nowhere."