Circumcision ban reaches Austria

Circumcision ban reaches Austria

State governor advises doctors to not perform the procedure that a German court ruled causes grievous bodily harm

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative photo of Jews performing a religious circumcision. (Serge Attal/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of Jews performing a religious circumcision. (Serge Attal/Flash90)

The controversy over banning circumcision has spread to Austria, where a state governor instructed doctors to refrain from performing the procedure, AFP reported on Wednesday.

Markus Wallner, centre-right state premier of Vorarlberg, advised doctors against performing circumcisions even if it is on religious grounds. The move follows a ruling several weeks ago in Cologne Germany that parents who have their children circumcised can be brought to court.

The head of Vienna’s Jewish community, Oskar Deutsch, protested that circumcision is protected by the constitution and head of the Islamic community of Austria, Fuat Sanac, slammed Wallner for attacking religious freedom, the report said.

The development comes after two Swiss hospitals announced earlier this month that they will temporarily suspend circumcisions.

The Cologne court ruled that practice amounts to grievous bodily harm. The ruling sparked a political storm and protest from Jewish and Muslim communities who considered the operation a religious requirement. German authorities have since been seeking ways to clarify the ruling while taking religious traditions in to consideration.

The AFP report said that a children’s hospital in Graz, the capital of the southeastern Austrian state of Styria, will not perform any more circumcisions that have not already been scheduled.

Two hospitals in Switzerland have also announced they will no longer perform the operation.

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