Rules on circumcision for Norway, Denmark

Resisting calls to ban the non-medical circumcision of boys, the governments of Norway and Denmark have taken steps to preserve the practice’s legal status.

Norway’s health ministry has submitted a bill that proposes placing some limitations and fees on ritual circumcision but not banning it outright, while Denmark’s health board issued guidelines stating that the practice is legal.

The Norwegian bill submitted April 11 by Health Minister Bent Hoie proposes requiring that all non-medical circumcisions of males, including children, be performed in medical facilities and by a licensed medical professional, the news agency NTB reported.

The bill came amid calls by health professionals, including Norway’s association of nurses and its children’s welfare adviser, to ban the practice altogether because it allegedly violates children’s rights to physical integrity.

“Ritual circumcision of boys has been practiced in the religious context for thousands of years and is a tradition with deep religious reasons for the Jewish and Muslim populations in many parts of the world. The procedure is not banned in any country,” the ministry said.

Sweden has had similar legislation since 2001. — jta