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Austria Affirms That Doctors Can Legally Circumcise Infants

Questions raised after anti-circumcision ruling by appeals court in neighboring Germany.

Austria's Justice Ministry has cleared the nation's doctors to resume infant circumcisions without risk of criminal charges.

Amid concerns that such circumcisions might become illegal after an appeals court in neighboring Germany recently ruled that religious parents do not have the right to circumcise their sons, the governor of an Austrian province had advised doctors to stop the practice.

Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim leaders came together to successfully defend the tradition, saying that limiting the practice was an attack on religion, according to Reuters. Austria is home to about 500,000 Muslims and 9,000 Jews.

Meanwhile, Norway's new ombudsman for children's rights has advocated for ending circumcision and replacing it with a "symbolic, nonsurgical ritual." According to The Jewish Daily Forward, the previous ombudsman suggested "setting 15 as the minimum age" for circumcision.

Prompted by a proposed ballot question in San Francisco last year, CT's David Neff has weighed in on criminalizing circumcision, arguing that America may have secularized the ancient Jewish rite but it is still inescapably religious.

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