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    Parents’ rights & circumcision – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute has suggested* that parents should not have the right to circumcise their children. What do you think?

    A. How can parents not have the legal right to make decisions about their child’s future? Not only about circumcision, but other medical treatments or procedures that parents authorise whilst a child is still a baby or even unborn.

    In such cases the law does not deny them the right to decide on what is in their child’s interests subject to safeguards such as ensuring that what they do is generally recognised as a valid option.

    Of course circumcision is carried out for a range of motives. In some cases it is for health reasons: there is evidence that circumcised males are less prone to certain medical problems. In Judaism it is for the child’s spiritual well-being and Jewish identity, and if parents can be accused of acting without the child’s consent what about Christian parents who have their child baptised?

    * This article originally appeared in 2009.

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