Cohn called the city’s claims that MBP transmits herpes a “blood libel.” He also insists that he will never get written consent from parents performing it. “If they want me to go to jail, I will go to jail,” Cohn reportedly said.
File photo: Metzitzah b'peh
Circumcision: Leading Haredi Mohel Refuses To Comply With New York City’s Informed Consent Requirement, City Apparently Does Nothing
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Rabbi Avrohom "Romi" Cohn is the president of the American Board of Ritual Circumcision.
He also admits to regularly performing metzitzah b’peh (MBP), the direct mouth-to-bleeding-penis suction done primarily by haredi mohels, in New york City without getting an informed consent signed by the baby’s parents – a violation of city law.
Cohn told the Forward he does regularly because he does not “believe in” the informed consent requirement.
Cohn said the only time he does not perform MBP is when parents who are “not strictly observant” might transmit a disease to him through the baby via MBP.
“They could be drug users, they could be going to prostitutes and who knows what, and are infected with all kinds of diseases.…It’s not only herpes; there are other serious diseases, like AIDS and other things,” Cohn said.
At least 14 infants have been infected with HSV-1 in New York City since 2000. Two of them died. Two others have brain damage.
Just before a bris in Brooklyn, a guest said that he was at a circumcision where Cohn was the mohel. Cohn was asked not to do MBP. Cohn refused to listen to the parent and threatened to walk out. Because the guests had already arrived, the family begrudgingly let Cohn do it over their objections.
Cohn confirmed this story to the Forward. He said the baby’s father and the family’s rabbi asked Cohn not to do MBP.
“The father was there next to the rabbi. I said, ‘Are you strictly religious?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Do you kiss strange women?’ He said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Do you go to prostitutes?’ He said, ‘No.’”
Cohn said that in that case, he had to perform MBP.
“Then the father said, ‘All right, go ahead and do it.”
Cohn did MBP. He admits that he did not obtain written informed consent from those – or any other – parents.
Cohn called the city’s claims that MBP transmits herpes a “blood libel.” He also insists that he will never get written consent from parents performing it.
“If they want me to go to jail, I will go to jail,” Cohn reportedly said.