Swedish Doctors Refuse to Circumcise

A survey recently conducted by the Swedish Pediatric Surgeons Association (Svensk Barnkirurgisk Förening) reports that almost 70% of pediatric surgeons do not want to perform male circumcision. Gunnar Göthberg, chairman of the association, regards female and male genital mutilation as equal violations, and views the surgical procedure as an assault upon a minor baby or child because it is done without medical need or his consent.

Dagens Nyheter (a newspaper in Sweden) reports that over half - 12 of 21 - local municipalities also refuse to perform male circumcision for non-medical reasons. There are approximately 3,000 circumcision surgeries that take place in Sweden each year (a relatively small number compared to the CDC reported 3,000,000 performed in the United States each year). Of these, approximately 2,000 are performed by individuals who are practicing without a medical license and are not physicians - adding to the circumcision risks and complications for the child at the end of the knife. [Often, U.S. circumcision surgery is also not performed by a surgeon, but by an intern/student to obtain the 'practice.']

Although circumcision of minor aged boys for non-medical reasons is permitted in Sweden, it is due in large part to the Swedish Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) decision that a prohibition against genital cutting would be an illegal limitation on religious freedom. We'd have to argue that by allowing genital cutting to take place upon the bodies of minors, it places an immediate limitation on this child's religious freedom (among other things). Adults have the ability to partake in a faith of their choosing - but the right to practice my chosen religion ends where your body, and your rights, begin.

Critics of Sweden's current stance on genital cutting, point out that non-medically necessary circumcision is in violation of the United Nation's Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

Related Reading:

Faith Considerations on Circumcision (Islam, Judaism, Christianity)

Male Circumcision in the USA: A Human Rights Primer

Finland Parents and Circumciser Charged with Assault and Battery

Religious Reasons for Circumcision Could Breech Human Rights


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