A Canadian couple has filed a lawsuit against their mohel, citing unconscionable medical practices and claiming that his actions violated their wishes – and the law.
When the Franks hired a mohel to circumcise their newborn son, they never dreamed the simple ceremony would turn into a medical and legal imbroglio.
This much has been confirmed: on the day in question, the unnamed mohel strapped the Franks’ eight-day-old son to a small pad atop a folding table in their congregation’s social hall. In full view of the wincing crowd, the mohel recited an ancient prayer and removed the baby boy’s foreskin with a scalpel, followed by a (teeny-tiny) bloodletting ceremony, hopefully through a straw. He then led the crowd in a prayer, in the hopes that the ritual might please the Lord.
But little did the Franks know that just as the mohel was cutting off part of their newborn son, he was also committing an invasive medical procedure with little scientific justification – a procedure so controversial, so upsetting to the boy’s parents, that they tried to have the mohel arrested on the spot. (Squeamish eyes may wish to turn away from the following.)
The mohel had vaccinated their son.
By all reports, Mr. and Mrs. Frank were furious about the news. The apparent miscommunication was a violation of their staunch anti-vaccine views, the product of genuine concern for their children, tireless and indiscriminate online research, and a shared phobia of needles.
“We hired this man to circumcise our son,” Mr. Frank told the media, “not to subject him to barbaric lunacy.
“As parents, we tell ourselves that if our child was old enough to understand, he would have given us permission, but I can’t help but feel like we’ve violated his trust forever.
“We only hope he can forgive us for what we did to him that day.”
With the support of others in the small but dense “anti-vaxxer” community, the Franks have appealed to local police to pursue charges of preventing childhood neglect and failure to endanger a child. (The police have declined multiple interview requests, citing their own fictionality.)
“These confident men come along and tell everyone they know what’s right for our son, what risks we should accept,” said Mrs. Frank.
“But they’re not responsible for my son and I don’t trust them to make the right decision,” she said, squeezing a Manischewitz-soaked cloth in her crying son’s mouth.
“They say there’s a medical benefit to doing this to our children, practically at birth – but what about the risk?
“Meanwhile, I’ve never met anyone with tuberculosis, or polio. Have you? And if ‘whooping cough’ is so serious, why does it have such a silly name?”
The actions of the mohel are also being condemned by a small association of concerned professionals, known as MIPEC, or Mohels for Infant Protection Except Circumcision. They released the following statement:
“The ‘science’ behind vaccines is ancient – sometimes even decades old. Moral people cannot be expected to base important decisions about their children’s safety on outdated science.
“Vaccines are known to contain rat poison, chemtrails and gluten. The scientific community has been unable to provide conclusive evidence that vaccines don’t cause car accidents.
“We consider it unconscionable that anyone, much less a mohel, would commit gratuitous and dangerous acts of pseudo-medical butchery, to which there can be no true consent.
“Most of all, MIPEC is gravely concerned that some in the community might start to think of a mohel as a dangerous outsider, someone who might advocate medically unsound practices outside of a sterile medical environment.”
As they prepare for trial, the Franks continue to help their son recover from his injection. The couple have consoled themselves by finding joy in the little things: their son can now attend school and be the first of his siblings to meet their six-year-old cousin, Amanda, who has not been vaccinated, due to a medical condition.
Follow A. David Levine on twitter at @adavidlevine