Germany Approves Bill To Keep Circumcision Legal

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The new law, passed with 434 to 100 votes, grants parents the right to authorize the circumcision of their sons by a trained practitioner.

German lawmakers Wednesday approved a bill to keep male infant circumcision legal after a regional court ruled earlier this year that the practice amounts to bodily harm.

The government proposed the law in the wake of harsh criticism of the Cologne court ruling from Jewish and Muslim groups.

The new law, which passed with 434 votes for, 100 against and 46 abstaining, grants parents the right to have their sons circumcised by a trained practitioner. Once the boy reaches six months of age the procedure needs to be performed by a doctor.

A minority of left-wing lawmakers in Parliament proposed that parents should have to wait until the boy is 14 so he can give informed consent, noting the procedure is irreversible.

Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress, praised the new law as “moral and just.”

Kantor said he hoped the German example could serve as a model for other European countries that are debating the contentious issue.

In June, a Cologne regional court ruled that a doctor had inflicted bodily harm on a 4-year-old Muslim boy he circumcised at the request of the boy’s parents.

Although the ruling was only binding in a small region, doctors across Germany halted the practice for fear of prosecution.