Iceland Could Become First Country to Outlaw Circumcision

March 13, 2018 at 3:47 pm

Taking a knife to an infant’s genitals could soon get you 6 years in prison in Iceland

Iceland is on the verge of becoming the first country in the world to criminalize male circumcision.

As it is in most other civilized countries, female circumcision has been illegal for years.

The popular bill before the Icelandic government would edit the wording of the 2005 Icelandic law banning female genital mutilation to include a ban on male genital mutilation, by changing the word “girls” to “children.”

The bill proposes a 6-year prison term for anyone found guilty of “removing sexual organs in whole or in part,” The Independent reports.

The bill was proposed by four different political parties and has been endorsed by a quarter of the country’s physicians, along with 1000 nurses and midwives, The New York Times reports.

It has sparked outrage in Jewish and Muslim communities.

“I think they should also propose that parents should not take the children skiing — or pierce their ears,” said Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the president of the Conference of European Rabbis.

Goldschmidt perceives the bill as an anti-immigration move directed against Muslims, and “we the Jews are the collateral damage.”

It is “basically saying that Jews are not anymore welcome in Iceland,” he said.

Silja Dogg Gunnarsdottir of the centrist Progressive Party, who helped author the bill, says that was not the intention.

The intention, she says, is to uphold the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that children who are capable of forming their own views have the right to “express those views freely” and that countries should ban practices prejudicial to the health of children.

“In my opinion, we should never ever violate the human right of a child or cause a child an unnecessary harm, doesn’t matter what the intentions are,” Ms. Gunnarsdottir said.

“In our opinion it’s a fundamental question about what the doctor-patient relationship really means,” said Dr. Eyjolfur Thorkelsson, who endorsed the bill.

“As a doctor you must treat everybody equally, regardless of class, religion, gender, gender preference or ethnic descent.”

Part of that, he added, is the first rule of medicine: “Do no harm.”

RELATED: Circumcision is Male Genital Mutilation