While many Americans may be circumcised, largely as a result of the prevalent Judeo-Christian tradition in the country, that isn’t the case everywhere else. And if a new law passes in Iceland, circumcisions in the country will become not just rare, but illegal.
A new proposed legislative amendment would ban the practice of childhood circumcision, making circumcision of a child illegal, and punishable by up to six years of prison time.
The bill, which is supported by members from at least five different political parties (including, among others, the Pirate Party, the Left Green, and the Progressive Party), calls for amendments to the current criminal code in the country.
In fact, the proposed legislation clearly states
“[Anyone found] removing sexual organs [from any child or woman], in whole or in part, shall be jailed for six years.”
And unlike many health and public safety laws in the United States, there isn’t an exemption on religious grounds, as the draft makes clear.
As the draft notes
“While it is certainly the rights of the parents to give their children guidance when it comes to religion, such a right can never exceed the rights of the child.”
This is part of a growing trend in Europe, as Danish doctors have recently also spoken out against childhood circumcision.
As the bill notes,
“Circumcision involves permanent interventions into a child’s body that can cause severe pain, also such an operation involves a risk of infections and other problems.”
As a result, the bill states that while the child may eventually decide they want to be circumcised, they cannot do so until the age of consent, “to understand what is involved in such action.” In Iceland, the age of consent is 15.
While the rate of circumcision in Iceland is currently rather low, it is not unheard of, and there is still some debate surrounding the issue—and not just in Iceland.
In addition to Danish doctors who have previously spoken out against circumcision, there is also a movement underway in Norway, as the Progress Party (FrP)—the country’s third-largest party, and more commonly known for their anti-immigration policies—chose to support a bill outlawing childhood circumcision before age 16.
While it remains to be seen if the bill in Iceland can pass, there’s certainly some momentum behind it. But what do you think? Should circumcision be illegal until a child is old enough to fully decide for themselves? Or do parents have the right to make that choice for their child?