There is so little risk involved in the ritual circumcision of boys when carried out by competent doctors that there is no need to recommend banning the procedure, according to the board of health.
Sundhedsstyrelsen laid out its findings into the potential dangers of circumcision in a report commissioned by the Health Ministry and published on Wednesday. They also found that there was insufficient documentation to generally recommend circumcising young men and boys.
The findings disappointed anti-circumcision group Intact, whose deputy chairman Leo Milgrom stated in a press release that it will mean that boys will continue to lose the right to decide over their own body.
“Even without all the weighty ethical considerations, and without all the many legal, sexual and psychological consequences, at the very least a scientific precautionary principle should apply: circumcision should be immediately stopped simply as a result of the scientific uncertainty described in the health agency’s own report,” Milgrom stated.
Intact argues that male ritual circumcision should be stopped because of unpredictable and unintended psychological consequences that the boys might suffer later in life. They argue that banning female circumcision yet allowing male circumcision, which they argue is equivalent, is discriminatory.
But according to Sundhedsstyrelsen there have been no serious complications as a result of ritual male circumcision in Denmark, though the risk of complication does increase if a boy is circumcised later in life.
The current guidelines for male circumcision only require that boys aged 15 and over must consent to the procedure. The procedure must also take place under the supervision of the doctor under proper medical conditions and the children must be administered adequate pain relief.
Sundhedsstyrelsen estimates that between 1,000 and 2,000 ritual circumcisions take place every year in Denmark.