Mummy stuff

Circumcision – respectable religious ritual or bodily harm?

Earlier this year in June, a practitioner at a hospital in Germany had been prosecuted when complications occurred soon after the circumcision of a four-year-old Muslim boy. The German court ruled that circumcisions without any medical necessity were to be classified as bodily harm, and as such illegal. The doctor in question was later cleared, as circumcisions in Germany had been undertaken for a very long time and in an “as-if-legal” manner, i.e. he couldn’t have been expected to know he was acting against the law.

All major political parties in Germany are now demanding a law that explicitly allows religious circumcision. However, the question if we as parents are allowed to disturb our children’s bodily integrity is out in the open.

For someone of moderate pick’n mix faith (I am a Christian with cherry-picked sprinkles of Buddhism, Judaism and a general openness for spirituality), ancient traditions can sometimes seem a little strange. As a mother, I am all against pricking and prodding my babies any more than strictly necessary. For example, I refused to accept the vitamin K shot babies get routinely after birth and instead opted for the oral version. Were I to have a baby boy, there’d be no way anyone would snip at his genitals without a strong medical necessity. However, considering myself a tolerant and open person, I don’t think something should be illegal, only because I am unable to comprehend it.

Soon after the court ruling, voices have been raised that equated circumcision to the genital mutilation of little girls. In my opinion, these two aren’t comparable. Genital mutilation alters integral body functions, whereas circumcision doesn’t.

I am not sure about this one. What do you think? Are we as parents entitled to decide or should we stay clear of any physical intervention that isn’t therapeutically necessary?


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