The German Federal Ministry of Justice (BMJ) [official website, in German] on Tuesday outlined a plan to legalize circumcisions [JURIST news archive] of infant boys after a controversial ruling banning the practice was handed down earlier this year. The Cologne state court [official website, in German] ruled in June that circumcising young boys based on religious traditions is prohibited [JURIST report] even if the parents consent to the procedure. Though the court's judgment was limited to the Cologne region, the ruling sparked outrage and doctors refused to carry out the procedure [Reuters report] because of the potential for legal action. The new law requires parents to be fully informed about the procedure, which must be performed in the most painless manner possible. The draft law has been sent to the German federal states, and experts will discuss the law later this week.
Earlier this month a German state official clarified that circumcision for religious reasons is legal [JURIST report] in Berlin. The announcement came after a Jewish hospital in Berlin asked the justice minister to clarify the legality surrounding the circumcision procedure. The inquiry was in response to the June Cologne state court ruling. In July, responding to the controversial decision by the Cologne state court, the German government announced [JURIST report] that it would act swiftly to lift criminal sanctions imposed on circumcision. Spokesperson for Chancellor Angela Merkel [official website, in German], Steffen Seibert, said that without adequate protections for the practice of circumcision, Jewish and Muslim communities would not be able to live in Germany because the practice is so fundamental to the groups.