Danish Parliament to Debate on Circumcision

Danish Parliament will debate whether to ban circumcision. Former health minister has already expressed support for possible new law.

Eliran Aharon, Cynthia Blank ,

Circumcision (illustrative)
Circumcision (illustrative)
Flash 90

On Wednesday the Danish Parliament will debate on the question of the ancient Jewish custom of circumcision, and whether it should be prohibited by law. 

In recent years, circumcision has become a source of mass public debate and is widely reported on by the media in Denmark. 

Many politicians have claimed that circumcision should be outlawed because it is in opposition to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. They have also argued that circumcision has no medical benefit, contrary to what many have claimed. 

According to the Danish Health Ministry's registry, between one thousand to two thousand circumcisions are held every year in the country. 

The Danish newspaper Metro Express several days ago published the results of a survey which revealed that 74 percent of respondents expressed support for legislation that would ban circumcision in Denmark. Out of 1,000 respondents, only 10 percent said that the decision to give the infant a circumcision should be left to the parents and objected to a ban of the ancient Jewish custom. 

Hans Christian Schmidt, a former Danish Minister of Health, was interviewed by Metro Express and announced that he would support legislation that would ban circumcision. "I will support a law against circumcision because I think the existence of this procedure is contrary to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. I leave the decision up to the child until he reaches the age of maturity," Schmidt said. 

Following the public debate around circumcision, the Danish Health and Medicines Authority decided to conduct research on whether circumcision has medical benefits in order to determine whether to recommend the procedure or to ban it entirely. 

After several months of research, the Authority issued a statement reporting that they had found no conclusive proof that circumcision provides health benefits, but, on the other hand, there were also no conclusive risks in performing the procedure. Therefore they are unable to publish an unequivocal recommendation whether to allow or prohibit the continuation of circumcision of Jewish and Muslim babies in Denmark. 

Rabbi Yair Melchior, who lives in Denmark, was also interviewed by Metro Express and said that there is no medical risk to having a circumcision and therefore no justification for a ban on the procedure. 

"If there was any risk in the circumcision procedure, the Jewish community would have already seen it. Circumcision has no health risks. There are a lot of arguments for and against circumcision, but I hope that the members of parliament will not allow public opinion polls to determine their position on the subject," said Melchior.