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Govt. to investigate circumcision

The prime minister is to call for a report into whether male circumcision is carried out under safe conditions.

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The debate this summer about male circumcision is now to result in a report on whether the procedure is carried out according to National Board of Health guidelines.

“We must make sure that things are done properly. And that is something the government will take the initiative to secure. We will investigate whether the National Board of Health recommendations are properly followed,” Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt says.

Health Minister Astrid Krag says the report is to determine the extent of the practice and whether there are complications.

“It will also show whether doctors generally follow the National Board of Health guidelines and whether there are examples of a doctor not being present during circumcision,” Krag says.

Politiken reported earlier this summer that here are inadequate controls in connection with circumcision.

Under National Board of Health rules, a doctor must always be present during circumcision. But if the procedure is carried out in non-medical surroundings, the health authorities do not check whether a doctor is present. As a result there is no professional indication as to whether the procedure is carried out properly or gives complications.

The medical profession is satisfied with the government initiative.

“When the Health Board has produced guidelines, it is a really good idea to make sure that the rules are actually followed,” says Doctor Association Ethical Committee Chairman Poul Jaszczac.

Chief Rabbi Bent Lexner is even more positive to the government plan.

“If doctors are happy about it, then I am even more so,” Lexner says, adding he welcomes a report on the subject and that records are kept of all Jewish boys who have been circumcised (in Denmark).

“We keep registers. The register goes back 250 years and we can document every single circumcision. A journal is also kept in connection with the circumcision itself. The doctor who is present keeps a record of what happens,” Lexner says.

The Society of the Islamic Faith in Denmark says it too is satisfied with the government move.

“Fine for us and we welcome it. We have always used medical help in connection with circumcision, and it is not necessary for us to have religious personnel present during circumcision. The most important thing is that it takes place in orderly conditions,” says Society Spokeswoman Bettina Meisner.

Meisner adds, however, that registration does not take place. “Circumcision is the responsibility of those concerned,” she says.

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