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1 Country Wants to Totally Do Away With Circumcising Newborns - and It's Not Going Over Well

PopSugar logo PopSugar 2/22/2018 Murphy Moroney
New Law Banning Circumcision in Iceland © Flickr user Big D2112 New Law Banning Circumcision in Iceland

Although there have always been strong opinions on either side of the circumcision debate, for parents living in Iceland, it may become a very one-sided discussion. Recently, a bill put forth by the Progressive Party in Parliament seeks to punish anyone who circumcises a newborn by jailing them for six years unless they have a medical reason for doing so.

According to a report from the Icelandic Review, the bill states, "In recent years, the view has become widespread, and is quite prevalent in Europe, that circumcision carried out for any purpose other than health reasons is a violation of the human rights of boys due to irreversible interventions to their bodies in which they have not had a say." It also goes on to automatically assume that circumcisions are carried out "in homes that are not sterile, and not by doctors but by religious leaders. There is a high risk of infections under such conditions that may lead to death."

Icelandic Progressive Party member of parliament Silja Dögg Gunnarsdottir told CNN that parents should not be making the decision for their newborn sons. "Those procedures are unnecessary, done without their informed consent, nonreversible, and can cause all kinds of severe complications, disfigurations, and even death."

While it's true that there is a nominal risk associated with the procedure, a 2012 report from the American Academy of Pediatrics says that the "the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks, but the benefits are not great enough to recommend universal newborn circumcision."

So what does that mean? According to the AAP, the benefits are small, but the risk of getting injured is even smaller.

As you can imagine, this new bill is making considerable waves, especially in the Jewish and Muslim communities. According to a report by the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, it's estimated that anywhere between 37 and 39 percent of men are circumcised worldwide. And because the practice is such an integral part of the Muslim and Jewish religions, the same researchers assumed that 99.9 percent of Jewish and Muslim men are circumcised.

"Iceland would be the only country to ban one of the most central, if not the most central rite in the Jewish tradition in modern times," said a statement made by The European Jewish Congress, emphasizing that the bill would "attack Judaism in a way that concerns Jews all over the world."

Slideshow: 20 surprising facts about spring babies (Courtesy: Mom.me) 

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