Male circumcision is legal but rare in Denmark. Photo: Colourbox
The Danish Medical Association (Lægeforeningen) has recommended that no boys under the age of 18 be circumcised in Denmark.
The association released its recommendation on Friday, saying that circumcision should be “an informed, personal choice” that young men should make for themselves.
In a press release, the group said that when parents have their male children circumcised, it robs the boys of the ability to make decisions about their own bodies and their own cultural and religious beliefs.
“To be circumcised should be an informed, personal choice. It is most consistent with the individual’s right to self-determination that parents not be allowed to make this decision but that it is left up to the individual when he has come of age,” Lise Møller, the chairwoman of the doctors’ association’s ethics board, said.
Lægeforeningen said that male circumcision carries a risk of complications and should only be performed on children when there is a documented medical need.
In making its recommendation, the doctors’ association stopped short of calling for a legal ban on male circumcision, which is legal but relatively rare in Denmark.
“We have discussed it thoroughly, also in our ethics committee. We came to the conclusion that it is difficult to predict the consequences of a ban – both for the involved boys, who could for example face bullying or unauthorized procedures with complications – and for the cultural and religious groups they belong to,” Møller said.
The Danish Health and Medicines Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen) estimates that somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 circumcisions are performed in Denmark each year, primarily on Jewish and Muslim boys.