Ban circumcision for boys under-18s, says Intact Denmark

A citizen’s petition could spell the beginning of the end to the controversial practice in Denmark

A group called Intact Denmark is trying to garner support to ban male circumcision for anyone under 18.

This is a measure, that if a recent Megafon poll is to be believed, 83 percent of Danes are behind, reports TV2 News.

As in a number of other countries, ordinary citizens can start a petition to the Danish Parliament on issues they feel strongly about via the website. If a suggestion receives a minimum of 50,000 supporters within 180 days, Folketinget is obliged to debate it.

Intact Denmark has submitted its suggestion and is waiting for it to be approved and posted on the website for signing.

READ ALSO: Nine out of ten Danes would ban ritual circumcision of boys

It’s all about freedom of choice
“If people want to let themselves be circumcised then they should have the opportunity to make that choice as an adult. Otherwise, they ought to be allowed to grow up with their body intact,” said chairperson of the organisation, Lena Nyhus.

However, the issue is fraught with cultural and religious baggage, as male circumcision is commonly practiced by both Jews and Muslims.

Recently the controversy was reignited because of the publication of a book for distribution in schools that contains a short story written by ex-member of parliament Özlem Cekic focusing on the cultural aspects of the circumcision of boys.

A matter of national security
Dansk Folkeparti, who would like to see the book withdrawn before it is distributed, are more circumspect when it comes to Intact Denmark’s suggestion.

“There could be a national security risk if Denmark becomes the first country to ban circumcision,” said Liselott Blixt, health spokesperson for DF.

She went on to say that this aspect ought to be investigated further before any decision is made. The party also intends to ask the ethical council Etisk Råd to take a position on the matter.

Nyhus, meanwhile, is prepared to take the risk.

“If we can be threatened because someone makes a drawing, there is also a risk that there could be consequences if we protect children in this area. It’s a risk we feel is worth running because it concerns a fundamental protection of children’s interests in Denmark,” she said.