July 13, 2012
Berlin to Protect Right to Ritual CircumcisionBy Vanessa Fuhrmans
BERLIN-Germany's government pledged Friday to pass a law to protect the ritual circumcision of young boys, seeking to calm a fractious debate over the religious rights of the country's Jews and Muslims that has erupted since a German court ruled the practice amounted to illegal bodily harm.
The German Medical Association earlier this week said the decision poses a legal quagmire for doctors and advised them not to perform such operations because of the risks of being prosecuted. The court ruling "isn't about banning religious rights," he said. "It's about delaying a religious act to ensure that children's rights are also protected."
Its president, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, warned the court's decision also could threaten children's health. One hospital that already has stopped performing religious circumcisions is the 250-year-old Jewish Hospital of Berlin. Last year, it performed roughly 300 circumcisions, on Muslim and Jewish boys. Since the Cologne court's ruling, though, the hospital said it has had to cancel five planned procedures.
"There is now the danger that laypeople will carry out the procedure instead, and that that will lead to considerable complications from the often unhygienic conditions alone," Dr. Montgomery said.
Holm Putzke, a German law professor from the University of Passau whose writings have played an influential role in Germany's legal debate over ritual circumcision, however, called the government's plans for legislation a "hasty reaction" that risked running afoul of Germany's constitution. Protecting the bodily harm of a child as a religious act opened the door to sanctioning other, more controversial practices under the guise of religious freedom he said.
[Indeed, how can Germany uphold
- cutting of male babies
- NO cutting of female babies
- AND equality of the sexes?]
Grundgesetz / Basic Law:
[Equality before the law]