Germany passes law expressly permitting infant male circumcision

[JURIST] The German Parliament [official website, in German] on Wednesday approved a bill that explicitly permits male infant circumcision [JURIST news archive]. The law comes in response to a Cologne state court [official website, in German] ruling [JURIST report] that circumcision of minors even for religious reasons is prohibited because the practice amounts to bodily harm. Though the court's judgment was limited to the Cologne region, the ruling sparked outrage in religious communities, and doctors refused to carry out the procedure because of the potential for legal action. The new law allows parents to have their sons circumcised by a trained practitioner [WP report], or by a doctor after the child passes six months of age. The bill passed with 434 votes, with 100 against and 46 abstentions.

The German Cabinet [official website] approved a draft law in October to legalize circumcision nationwide. the German Federal Ministry of Justice (BMJ) [official website, in German] drafted [JURIST report] a similar law to allow circumcisions. Earlier that month a German state official stated that circumcision for religious reasons is legal [JURIST report] in Berlin, after a Jewish hospital in Berlin asked the justice minister to clarify the legality surrounding the circumcision procedure. The German government announced [JURIST report] that it would act swiftly to lift criminal sanctions imposed on circumcision shortly after the controversial Cologne court ruling.

 

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