June 26, 2012
Circumcision for religious reasons banned in Germany
By QMI Agency
Doctors in Germany will no longer be able to legally perform circumcisions for religious purposes.
In a decision Tuesday, the District Court of Cologne ruled doctors can be charged with assault for performing a circumcision if it's not medically necessary.
Until now, doctors had performed circumcisions for religious purposes because it was considered a grey area, and there was no law against it.
In a release, the court said the decision came after a four-year-old boy was circumcised in November 2010, at the request of his Islamic parents.
But a few days later, the parents took the boy to a local hospital because he was bleeding heavily. The doctor was charged with causing bodily harm.
He appealed and was acquitted because a regional court ruled the law was too confusing.
On Tuesday, the district court ruled circumcision would "irreparably and permanently" harm a boy and performing one for religious purposes "contravenes the interests of the child to decide later on his religious beliefs."
According to 2006 statistics from the World Health Organization, about 30% of men worldwide are circumcised. It is common in many African countries, and is "almost universal" in North America.
"During the 20th century, male circumcision gained popularity for perceived health benefits and social reasons in North America, New Zealand and Europe. Neonatal and childhood male circumcision rates in the United States of America rose to about 80% in the 1960s with prevalence remaining high (between 76%-92%) today. In contrast, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom have seen a decline in male circumcision," the WHO said.
The major reason for circumcision is religion, followed by perceived health and sexual benefits, the report noted.