Germany's Parliament approved a bill on Wednesday that explicitly legalizes circumcision, following months of uncertainty over the law after a court declared the practice illegal.

The surgery is one of the most common medically unnecessary procedures performed around the world, and while it is mostly safe, it also carries the potential for some side effects. One such botched circumcision is what triggered a lawsuit in Germany earlier this year, ultimately leading a district court in Cologne to ban the practice in June.

Fearing prosecution for child abuse, German doctors stopped performing circumcisions, leaving the deed to devout religious leaders. The decision outraged religious Muslims and Jews, who joined forces to push back against the ban.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said she feared the country would become a laughing stock for banning the religious practice, especially considering Germany's sordid and bloody history dealing with Jews in the last century.

The law is expected to be finalized in the coming days.

The audio below is from BBC World, published October 11, 2012.


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