Petition for Danish circumcision ban loses political support

The wording of a petition for a minimum age on circumcision has resulted in a loss of support from politicians.

Petition for Danish circumcision ban loses political support
A petition proposing an age limit on circumcision reached the required number of signatures for parliamentary procedure. File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The petition to ban circumcision of children, forwarded by lobby group Intact Denmark, in June reached the 50,000 signatures required in order to force parliament to take up the issue. 

While many politicians previously supported the implementation of an age limit for circumcision, they are now withdrawing their support. This is due to key elements of the proposal, newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad writes.

Intact Denmark is a lobby group which aims to “stop genital mutilation of all children worldwide regardless of cultural affiliation or religion of their parents,” according to the organisation’s website.

Intact claims that Denmark has neglected to comply with international regulations by allowing male circumcision. The petition states, among other things, that a “gender-neutral age of 18 years for circumcision” will ensure “implementation” of the European Council’s biological ethics conventions.

By supporting the proposal, politicians can also ensure that Denmark lives up to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, they say.

However, the argument that Denmark is not in compliance with the convention is inaccurate, according to a number of prior written evaluations by the Ministry of Health. Denmark is already complying with the convention as detailed by the UN, the ministry found.

“It is simply not correct that we do not live up to this convention already,” MP Liselott Blixt, chair of the parliamentary Health Committee, said to Kristeligt Dagblad.

Blixt has, however, advocated an age limit on circumcision for a number of years, the newspaper writes.

The Danish People's Party MP also criticized the proposal as it is currently worded, arguing that it would legalize female circumcision.

Jane Heitman, health spokesperson with the governing Liberal (Venstre) party, has also confirmed she will not vote for the proposal. 

“I stand by the answer given by the ministry, which emphasizes that current practices do not pose any threats in relation to the UN Convention on Children’s rights,” Heitman told Kristeligt Dagblad.

“In addition, I think it is completely unacceptable and irresponsible to allow circumcision of women,” she added.



New Year’s Eve injury rate bounces back to normal in Denmark

The number of people treated for fireworks-related injuries on New Year's Eve in Denmark has bounced back to normal levels, with 16 people treated for eye injuries after the celebrations.

New Year's Eve injury rate bounces back to normal in Denmark
Fireworks led to 16 eye injuries on New Year's Eve. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

This is up from the unusually low 12 people who were treated for eye injuries during and after the celebrations last year. Two of this year’s injuries are sufficiently severe that the injured are expected to lose their sight completely or partially.

“After a very quiet evening last year, it is back to a normal, average level,” Ulrik Correll Christensen, head doctor at the ophthalmology department at Rigshospitalet, told the country’s Ritzau newswire. “It is a completely extraordinary situation at the eye departments on New Year’s Eve. It is not at all something we see on a daily basis.” 

Christensen has tallied up reports from all of Denmark’s eye units, including the major ones in Copenhagen, Aalborg, Aarhus, Odense and Næstved. 

He said that 15 out of the 16 cases had not worn safety goggles, two thirds were between ten and thirty years old. 

“The most important thing is to follow the advice when firing fireworks. Wear safety goggles and keep a good distance,” he said. 

The number of ambulance call outs on New Year’s Eve is also back to normal, with 1,188 emergency vehicles sent out, compared to 875 last year. 

In the Capital Region of Copenhagen, there were 44 call-outs were related to fireworks, of which 16 were for hand injuries and 14 for eye injuries.