Finnish mother fined over circumcision as legislation stalls

doctor1A mother has been fined for having her son circumcised as the legislation row in Finland remains unaddressed.

Despite a bill being tabled for over a decade, no progress has been made in Finland over the contentious issue of non-medical circumcision.

Last week, the Helsinki District Court fined a mother for inciting assault after she had a circumcision procedure carried out on her six-month old child. The woman used a contact claiming to be a surgeon, but the boy had to be hospitalised for continued bleeding the following day.

The case echoes a similar incident earlier this year when a British Rabbi was flown in to Finland to perform the traditional bris ceremony. This operation also led to complications and the need for professional medical treatment.

In 2003, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health recommended that circumcisions should only be permitted under public health care, but despite the present government term running out in 2011, no further plans to debate the issue have been put forward. Around 200 boys across the country are circumcised every year for religious reasons.

The controversy over the legal standing of the operation has left all University hospitals in Finland refusing to perform the operation, while private doctors are increasingly reluctant to undertake the procedure. Many parents in favour of the practice have, therefore, sent their children abroad, according to Helsingin Sanomat.

In 2008, the Finnish Supreme Court ruled that religiously mandated circumcision was legal if made in proper medical fashion, but the question remains as to whether doctors are obliged to perform the operation.

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