COPENHAGEN — Large medical associations in Sweden and Denmark recommended banning non-medical circumcision of boys.
In Sweden, the recommendation came in a resolution that was unanimously adopted last week by the ethics council of the Sweden Medical Association — a union whose members constitute 85% of the country’s physicians, the Svenska Dagbladet daily reported on Jan. 25.
It recommended setting 12 as the minimum age for the procedure and the boy’s consent. Jewish ritual circumcision, or brit milah, is performed eight days after birth. Muslims typically circumcise boys before they turn 10.
In Denmark, the Danish College of General Practitioners — a group with 3,000 members — said in statement that non-medical circumcision of boys amounted to abuse and mutilation, the Danish BT tabloid reported Sunday, Jan. 26.
The recommendation, which is non-binding, also said that circumcision should be performed only by physicians in a medical facility.
Sweden’s minister for integration, Erik Ullenhag, said existing rules that allow for ritual circumcision would not be changed.
In Sweden, non-medical and medical circumcision may be performed only by licensed professionals, as per legislation from 2001.
Under the legislation, Jewish ritual circumcisers, or mohels, in Sweden receive their licenses from the country’s health board, but a nurse or doctor must still be present when they perform the procedure.
“I have never met any adult man who experienced circumcision as an assault,” Ullenhag said. “The procedure is not very intensive and parents have the right to raise their children according to their faith and tradition. If we prohibit it, we must also address the issue of the Christian ritual of baptism.”