Vienna – Religious Circumcision Gets Green Light In Western Austria

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    A letter written by Justice Minister Beatrix Karl was released this afternoon, informing doctors that they will not face criminal charges for performing religious circumcisions. Photo: Michaela BruckbergerVienna – A decision to suspend circumcision in the Austrian province of Vorarlberg except when required for health reasons was reversed today by Austria’s Justice Ministry.

    The ruling was protested by a group of religious leaders in Austria representing the county’s Jewish, Muslin, Catholic and Protestant citizens who challenged its legality.

    A letter written by Justice Minister Beatrix Karl was released this afternoon, informing doctors that they will not face criminal charges for performing religious circumcisions saying, “We only wanted to get legal certainty for doctors so they can be clear whether they face legal consequences if they perform circumcisions for religious reasons.”

    A spokesman for the justice minister told Reuters that the ruling gave doctors the authority to decide if they wanted to perform circumcisions, a procedure not covered by the public health system.

    Austria is currently home to 9,000 Jews and half a million Muslims.

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