Denmark's Health Board Issues New Circumcision Restrictions

The Board of Health in Denmark has issued new guidelines for circumcision providing that a doctor must be present when a circumcision is performed in Denmark.

Here is the quite rough computer translation.

Steven Svoboda
Attorneys for the Rights of the Child


Jews and Muslims can continue boys circumcision

April 10, 2014


It should be possible for a rabbi to circumcise a boy, if only there is a doctor present, it said.

Jewish boys can continue to be circumcised by their brit milah after the National Board of Health Thursday made a new guide that will make circumcision for religious reasons possible.

Beforehand it was not expected that the Agency would recommend a ban on male circumcision on religious grounds.

The guidelines require the Board of Health that male circumcision is a surgical procedure and thus restricted to medical practitioners.

However, it said that doctors can make use of assistants, so for example, a doctor may be present at a brit milah, when a rabbi circumcise a boy.

- Use of assistance for male circumcision means that the physician must be present during the operation, it said.

In Denmark it is estimated to be up to 2,000 circumcision of boys a year for religious reasons by Muslims and Jews.

It is primarily doctors in charge of the circumcision of Muslims, while Jewish boys circumcised by a rabbi, which typically happens when the boy is 8 days old.

Chairman of the Mosaic Religious Community, Bent Lexner, is pleased that it will still be possible to circumcise baby boys.

- I am fully satisfied with it and it is in line with our thoughts. It is one of the most important things in the Jewish identity and religion, says the Chief Rabbi.

There have recently been some debate in the field, where, among other doctors have called circumcision for religious reasons of "mutilation".

- I can only regret that they are not much more has put into things, and that they use this kind of expression, says Bent Lexner.

Several politicians and parties in parliament also oppose religious circumcision of boys, but yet have no desire to ban the practice directly.

Economy and Interior Minister Margrethe Vestager (R) has previously said that she considers it an ethical issue, and that she supports a ban on the long term.

Last discussion was up on the agenda, rejected the then Health Minister Astrid Krag (SF) to legislate against circumcision on religious grounds.


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