The Danish political parties have been expressing their astonishment and indignation after disclosures that the health authorities do not check whether rules are followed regarding the medical supervision of male circumcision rites.
“This is surprising as supervision should be in place in all health issues,” says Social Democratic Health Spokeswoman Karen Klint who has asked Health Minister Astrid Krag whether there is sufficient professional monitoring of religious circumcision.
The opposition Liberal Party also says it is surprised that authorities do not actually check whether rules are followed.
“It is particularly strange because the Health Authority supervises so many things in Denmark. And sometimes perhaps even somewhat officiously, some hospitals would say. So it is surprising that here there is no overview as to whether a professional medic is present,” liberal Health Spokeswoman Sophie Løhde says.
“I expect the Board and thus the minister to suggest what to do in order to ensure that procedures live up to the law,” Løhde says.
Health Board rules call for a doctor to be present when small boys are circumcised. But the authorities do not seem to be able to say whether the rules are always followed. Rabbis, who normally undertake the procedure for Jewish boys, do not appear to be monitored.
“There is a reason to believe that a doctor should be present and I expect steps to be taken to monitor the procedure,” says Conservative Health Spokeswoman Benedikte Kiær.
The Danish People’s Party is adamant that rules on supervision should be followed.
“There must be checks (Ed: that the rules are followed). We must see whether these take place through random checks, or demands that a doctor should carry out the procedure, “says Danish People’s Party Health Spokeswoman Liselott Blixt.
The Red Greens have also expressed concern.
“We should particularly focus on this given that there is a tradition that these surgical procedures are not carried out by medical personnel,” Red Green Health Spokeswoman Stine Brix says.
Camilla Hersom of the Social Liberals says the law must be followed.
“Obviously, if the law says a doctor must be present, then you must be able to be sure that a doctor is present,” Hersom says.
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Edited by Julian Isherwood