The circumcision bill

Most of you are probably bored of my reports on Germany dealing  with that idiotic court decision on circumcision a few months ago. But I’m not relenting, so here’s the newest update: Today the federal cabinet resolved on the bill it will be introducing, so now we have a text[pdf, in German]. I’m not translating the 25 pages of reasons and explanations, but here’s my translation of the actual bill’s text:

Bill of the Federal Government [Bundesregierung]

Draft of an act on the extent of the care for the person [Personensorge, basically this means guardianship -G.] in the circumcision of a male child

of … [Date will go here -G.]

The Federal Diet has passed the following act:

Article 1
Amendment of the civil code

After section 1631c of the Civil Code [Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch] in the version of the publication of January 2, 2002 (BGBl. I p. 42, 2909; 2003 I S. 738) [this is a citation of the Bundesgesetzblatt, basically the German version of the slip laws -G.], which has last been amended by article … of the act of … (BGBl. I p. …) the following section 1631d is inserted:

“Section 1631d
Circumcision of the male child

(1) The care for the person also includes the right to consent to a medically unnecessary circumcision of the male child incapable of understanding or consent, if it is to be done according to the rules of medical art. This doesn’t apply if the child’s welfare [Kindeswohl] is endangered by the circumcision even in view of its purpose.
(2) In the first six months after the birth of the child, persons designated  by a religious body [Religionsgesellschaft] for doing so too may perform circumcisions according to paragraph 1, if they are specially trained for it and, without being a physician, are similarly qualified for performing the circumcision.”

Article 2
Entry into force

This act enters into force on the day after the promulgation.

Looking at it, this is pretty much the plan on which I reported two weeks ago. The majority is clear, so this is basically what will end up on the book. The interesting question is how long the legislative process will take. I’ll keep reporting on that.

The next step is consulting the Federal Council.  I think it is most likely to recommend approval in its session of November 2, though the November 23 session too would be barely within the six week time limit it has to make a statement. Then the first reading in the Federal Diet would be the week after that. After that we’ll have to see how long the bill stays in committee.

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