A resent ruling, in Germany, now considers religious-based circumcision as bodily harm and a criminal offence. It doesn’t matter if there is parental consent. This ruling follows a recent case where a doctor circumcised a 4 yr old Muslim boy via parent’s request. Days later, the boy was hospitalized for hemorrhaging, and the doctor was charged for bodily harm. The courts ruled against parental religious freedom giving the choice and right for “self determination” (when and if to be circumcised) later in life to the child. Circumcision was also noted as a threat to a child’s well-being.
Several of us WiseMommies have made the decision to not circumcise our sons. I would like to state: While I personally was relieved to make the decision not to circumcise my sons, I do not agree with this current ruling in Germany. In the end, I think it should be about the parental rights/consent, in a cultural or religious context, not the law of the government which decides circumcision. I’m sure my husband would not have felt well if the American government had forced us by law to circumcise our son against my husband’s parental cultural preference. In the US, newborn males are normally circumcised, however in some other countries such as Germany, circumcision usually only happens amongst Muslim and Jewish religious communities.
When we made the decision to not circumcise our son in the US, we were met with great resistance from doctors, friends and family members. In the US, circumcision is culturally more acceptable and still believed to be more hygienic. We made the decision based on my husband’s cultural preference, coming from Germany, as well as weeks of researching into the pros and cons of circumcision in order to make what we believed to be the best parental decision for our sons. Knowing circumcision isn’t something you can reverse, I felt better giving my son this option later in life.
Personally, I was also relieved to avoid the trauma of circumcision for my newborn as well as myself. While low, there is an estimated death rate of 1 in 500,000 from circumcision according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Unfortunately doctors worldwide, such as Europe and America, aren’t really informing parents of up-to-date facts regarding medical benefits and advantages as well as the risks and disadvantages of circumcision in order to give parents more knowledge before making this decision. Additionally, “circumcised men feel less sexual pleasure and less intense orgasms.” In the end, I think the parents should have the choice to decide either way!