‘Bill prohibiting the practice for non-medical reasons.’
The British Medical Association (BMA) is gradually coming under pressure to take a stance as Iceland considers implementing a bill prohibiting the practice of religious circumcision or any type of circumcision for non-medical reasons.
The BMA has been conducting a regular review of its guidelines on ‘ritual’ circumcision, and there is a subtle and growing call to ban circumcision in Britain.
Circumcision is practiced by Muslim, Christian and Jewish groups, and faith groups are warning that any restriction would amount to an infringement of religious freedom.
Currently, the BMA outlines best practice for circumcision but does not take a stance on the ethics. The General Medical Council says doctors do not have to carry out the procedure if they believe it is not in the child’s best interests but says ‘cultural, religious or other beliefs’ must be considered.
Many Christians follow the footsteps of Jesus who was circumcised eight days after his birth according to Luke 2:21. Under the Jewish tradition, a male baby is circumcised eight days after being born, and under Islamic teaching, men should be circumcised before they attain puberty.
A spokesperson for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said children had ‘a right to be brought up in their family’s religious or cultural background’ and warned that a ban on circumcision until the age of 18, or the NHS’s age of consent, 16 – as campaigners are calling for – would mean that the procedure would be more painful.