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Circumcision and law

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Circumcision has traditionally been presumed legal under British law, although no case has ever decided this issue. One recent case, Re J (child's religious upbringing and circumcision) (see [1] (http://www.butterworths.co.uk/academic/fortin/cases/Re_J.htm)) found that circumcision was illegal without the consent of either both the child's parents, or the permission of the court. In recent years many have argued that male circumcision may be illegal under international human rights law. Article 24.3 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child provides that State Parties must "take all effective and appropriate measures with a view to abolishing traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children..." Male circumcision may fall under "traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children".

A research paper of the Queensland Law Reform Commission[?] (Circumcision of Male Infants) concluded that "On a strict interpretation of the assault provisions of the Queensland Criminal Code, routine circumcision of a male infant could be regarded as a criminal act", and that doctors who perform circumcision on male infants may be liable to civil claims by that child at a later date.



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