July 24, 2012
Some Austrian Hospitals End Religious CircumcisionVIENNA -- The governor of Vorarlberg has told hospitals run by Austria's westernmost province to suspend circumcisions motivated by religious custom, citing a German regional court ruling that the practice amounted to causing criminal bodily harm.
Markus Wallner says he sees the German decision last month, arising from the case of a child whose circumcision led to medical complications, as "precedence-setting judgment."
He told provincial hospitals Tuesday not to perform the procedure except for health reasons until the legal situation is clarified in Austria.
The decision does not affect religiously motivated circumcisions performed outside hospitals run by the Vorarlberg government.
July 24, 2012
Circumcision row hits Austria as doctors advise against it even on religious groundsA row over circumcision has spread to Austria from Germany after a state governor advised doctors against performing the procedure, even when it is on religious grounds.
Wallner's move meanwhile was slammed as an "attack on religious freedom" by Fuat Sanac, head of the Islamic Community of Austria (IGGiOe), according to comments due to be published in Wednesday's Der Standard daily.
The move "is not worthy of Austria", Sanac said, calling circumcision "a tradition going back thousands of years". Oskar Deutsch, the head of Vienna's Jewish Community, said that the practice was "protected by the constitution".
A spokesman for the centre-left Social Democrats - in a coalition at national level with Wallner's Austrian People's Party - accused the state premier of "giving in to populism".
In Graz, the capital of the southeastern state of Styria, the children's hospital has decided not to carry out any more circumcisions that have not already been scheduled.