“I do not agree with the way they [Agudah] are portraying our report.”
Dr. Joel Betesh, senior author of the paper cited by Agudath Israel of America (Agudah) in press release, “Ivy League Study Casts Doubt on Claims That Jewish Tradition Leads to Herpes in Infants.”
According to The Forward,
University of Pennsylvania officials are crying foul over what they view as the illicit procurement and misuse by several ultra-Orthodox groups of an internal study by Penn researchers of a controversial circumcision rite.
Penn’s Center for Evidence-based Practice never published or released an assessment it conducted earlier this year of evidence from prior studies showing the risk that the religious rite known as metzitzah b’peh poses to infants, the officials say. Yet somehow, ultra-Orthodox groups recently acquired the Penn study for use in a lawsuit opposing regulation of the practice by New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
“The unpublished report was used without our knowledge or consent, and importantly, without proper context,” the University of Pennsylvaia Health System charged in a statement released April 15. The school termed it “regrettable that our evidence review was manipulated for purposes other than advising physicians of important clinical risk factors for newborns.”
In an email to the Forward, Susan Phillips, senior vice president of public affairs at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, wrote that “the study “was never available online from us and still isn’t.” …… The press release “mischaracterized our review by implying that there is no causal relationship between circumcision performed with oral suction and the transmission of neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) when the full report on the existing evidence concluded this link does exist.”