Leaders of Germany’s 250,000 Jews and 4 million Muslims lobbied hard against the Cologne ruling, calling it an act of religious intolerance.
The new law, passed by a 434-100 vote, with 46 abstentions, allows parents to opt for circumcision for their sons by a trained practitioner. After six months of age, a doctor must perform it.
Still, many Europeans and a growing number of Americans are rejecting ritual circumcision as a painful mutilation and permanent dulling of sexual pleasure inflicted upon a person who is too young to consent. The individual’s right to bodily integrity, anti-circumcision activists argue, should trump parents’ religious beliefs.
U.S. circumcision rates have declined steeply since the 1970s, when about 80 percent of baby boys were circumcised, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2010, about 55 percent were circumcised.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has determined that the benefits of circumcision – including a lower risk of sexually transmitted diseases – outweigh the risks, but are not great enough to recommend universal circumcision on baby boys, and advises that the decision should be left to parents.
nfant male circumcision is genital mutilation