Finnish Church comments on laws concerning female genital mutilation and infanticide

Helsinki, May 30, 2024

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At the request of Finland’s Ministry of Justice, the Finnish Orthodox Church recently submitted an opinion on legal issues surrounding female genital mutilation and infanticide.

Regarding female genital mutilation, the Church writes:

The protection and care of women, children, and all those in vulnerable situations is a fundamental and essential indicator of any society. Each of us has a responsibility to work to improve the living conditions of vulnerable women and children. The Church welcomes all medical achievements that can help protect and heal people from diseases and injuries.

Female genital mutilation is a particularly serious violation of personal integrity…

The Finnish Orthodox Church, in accordance with the decision of the Supreme Court, is aware that female genital mutilation, previously called female circumcision, is in principle a procedure classified as an aggravated assault, which under no circumstances can be justified by religious and social motives, and equating it with circumcision of boys, from the point of view of from the point of view of a legal assessment, it is not justified.

Regarding a law on female genital mutilation that is currently being prepared, the Church notes that it criminalizes the practice as related to cultural and religious beliefs, but does not apply to procedures performed for medical reasons. Thus, “medical indicators should be clearly defined in the law.”

Regarding infanticide:

The Finnish Orthodox Church states that the right of a newborn child to life is equivalent to that of individuals of other ages, and the seriousness of intentional murder does not depend on the age of the victim. The Church considers the requirement for psychiatric evaluation in cases outlined by the infanticide legislation, as emphasized in the government’s proposed bill, to be important.

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