German Court Bans Infant Circumcision
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
A regional court in Cologne has ruled that the "fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity” outweighs the rights of his parents to have him circumcised.
"The religious freedom of the parents and their right to educate their child would not be unacceptably compromised,” the court wrote, “if they were obliged to wait until the child could himself decide to be circumcised.”
There is no law prohibiting male infant circumcision in Germany, and the ruling is not binding for other German courts.
But it does set a precedent that could – and may very well be – be used by other German courts.
The ruling was issued in a case against a doctor who circumcised a four-year-old Muslim boy at his parents request.
A few days after the circumcision, the boy was rushed to a hospital by his parents because of heavy bleeding from the circumcision site. State prosecutors later charged the doctor with inflicting grievous bodily harm on the child.
A lower court acquitted the doctor, ruling that he had acted on the instructions of the boys parents and therefore was not guilty.
The regional court heard the case on appeal from the state. It also acquitted the doctor, but only because it found that existing laws that govern circumcision were too unclear to hold the doctor responsible for the injury. The court then ruled that circumcising a minor child who is too young to legally consent was inflicting grievous bodily harm on the child.
"The body of the child is irreparably and permanently changed by a circumcision. This change contravenes the interests of the child to decide later on his religious beliefs,” the court wrote.
The ruling would not impact circumcisions done for medical reasons.
Germany's Jewish community is outraged.
The president of Germany's Central Council of Jews, Dieter Graumann, labeled the ruling “unprecedented and insensitive.” He called on Germany’s parliament to clarify the legal situation "to protect religious freedom” – i.e., the right to have infants circumcised – “against attacks,” USA Today reports.