Swiss Hospitals Suspend Circumcision of Infants

By JTA

Published July 23, 2012.
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Two hospitals in Switzerland decided to temporarily suspend circumcisions of infants unless it is medically required, following a German court ruling.

According to Swiss media, a Zurich children’s hospital announced last week that it will abstain from performing the procedure, and this weekend St. Gall teaching hospital did the same.

“We are in the process of evaluating the legal and ethical stance in Switzerland,” said Marco Stuecheli, spokesman for the Zurich hospital, the French news agency AFP reported.

Stuecheli said that the development is unlikely to affect the practice in Switzerland because it can be carried out in any hospital for a fee.

“Most Jewish patients go to specialist doctors known within their community,” Stuecheli said, according to AFP, adding that the hospital carried out “only one or two circumcisions for religious reasons per month.”

Last month, a court in the German city of Cologne ruled against non-medical circumcision on the grounds that circumcision causes grievous bodily harm. Germany’s lawmakers passed a pro-circumcision resolution this month that protects the right to religious-based circumcision of boys as long as it is done by a medically qualified practitioner who avoids inflicting pain.

German Jewish and Muslim leaders have criticized the Cologne ruling, which said the “fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents.” Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, called it “outrageous and insensitive” in a statement.

According to Swiss media, a Zurich children’s hospital announced last week that it will abstain from performing the procedure, and this weekend St. Gall teaching hospital did the same.

“We are in the process of evaluating the legal and ethical stance in Switzerland,” said Marco Stuecheli, spokesman for the Zurich hospital, the French news agency AFP reported.

Stuecheli said that the development is unlikely to affect the practice in Switzerland because it can be carried out in any hospital for a fee.

“Most Jewish patients go to specialist doctors known within their community,” Stuecheli said, according to AFP, adding that the hospital carried out “only one or two circumcisions for religious reasons per month.”

Last month, a court in the German city of Cologne ruled against non-medical circumcision on the grounds that circumcision causes grievous bodily harm. Germany’s lawmakers passed a pro-circumcision resolution this month that protects the right to religious-based circumcision of boys as long as it is done by a medically qualified practitioner who avoids inflicting pain.

German Jewish and Muslim leaders have criticized the Cologne ruling, which said the “fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents.” Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, called it “outrageous and insensitive” in a statement.


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