You may remember that in June a German court went berserk and found circumcision a crime. About two weeks later, I told you about government plans to clarify its legality statute.
Now the ministry of justice is polling the states and various lobbies for comments on its plan for a bill. The whole paper isn’t publicly available yet, but German media are quoting from it extensively. The main point is that a new section 1631d of the civil code will specify that
Guardianship[Personensorge] also includes the right to consent to a medically not necessary circumcision of the male child incapable of understanding or consent, if it is to be done according to the rules of medical art.
This is better than I expected, because it will make circumcision outright legal rather than just non-punishable like abortion.
I think most of the “rules of medical art” will be left to legal practice. Mostly they are thinking of painkillers and hygiene, which is OK for both religions concerned. There is, however, a clear mohel clause:
In the first six months after the birth of the child persons designated by a religious association for that purpose, too, may perform circumcisions, if they are especially trained to do so, and, without being physicians, are comparably qualified for performing circumcisions.
Muslims are OK with actual doctors doing the circumcision.
A religious reason will not be required, mainly because it would
confront legal practice with the difficult task of having to establish the content of religious convictions.
There will be a catch-all clause prohibiting the circumcision
if even in view of its purpose the child’s welfare is endangered by the circumscision
So far I have heard two examples that clause is meant to apply to: hemophiliacs and older kids who don’t want to be circumcised.
The polled institutions must reply by the first of October, because
the German federal diet expects introduction of a bill by the federal government ‘still within the autumn of 2012’ and the project is generally seen as urgent.
I’d have preferred a bit more urgency than introducing the bill before Christmas and than probably committing in in the new year, but well, Germans like lots of pondering even and especially if the result is already established. In practice nobody will be prosecuted before the law takes effect and the actual content seems good.