BERLIN -- After months of controversy, lawmakers overwhelmingly approved legislation Wednesday to guarantee that male circumcision remains legal in Germany, assuaging Jews and Muslims who feared the practice would be banned.
The legislation makes it clear that parents have the right to circumcise their newborn sons if the practice follows medical rules and is carried out by a trained practitioner. Once the boy reaches the age of six months, only a doctor can perform the circumcision.
After a two-hour debate, 434 members of the Bundestag, Germany's lower house of parliament, voted in favor of the proposal put forth by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
One hundred representatives voted against it and 46 abstained. Those who opposed the legislation had put forward an alternative, which was defeated, to restrict circumcision to males of at least age 14 who had given their informed consent. Another unsuccessful proposal would have allowed only doctors to perform the procedure, regardless of the subject's age.