The circumcision row is roiling on in Norway, with the Government now preparing a new law to regulate the practice of circumcision of baby boys in Norway. The short version of the proposed Law is that ritual circumcision of baby boys shall be legal in Norway, however, the procedure must be carried out in a public hospital under controlled conditions. The measure is tailor made for the Norwegian Muslim population, who otherwise would have no public access to a ritual which is of great importance to their faith ( it is estimated that approximately 2000 boys are circumcised yearly in Norway). This pragmatic solution has caused furious responses from the intactivists, who say this is the worst possible outcome (Ombudsman for Children, Anne Lindboe), while pediatric surgeons say they oppose the measure since the anesthetic risk for a newborn is higher than acceptable for an elective procedure. yes… they actually want to submit a newborn baby to general anesthesia for a procedure that lasts a maximum of 30 seconds (I have personally great knowledge of anesthetic procedures and wonder if these doctors perhaps have been hitting the lithium a little too hard?). In the same article, the leader of the Jewish Congregation in Oslo, Ervin Kohn, states that the measures will be good for the Muslim population but that for the 5 or so Jewish babies that are circumcised annually, a specialized mohel is flown in from the UK. This Mohel is highly trained and specialized and serves both the Jewish and Muslim communities in the UK. Mr. Kohn (rightfully) scoffs at the notion of submitting newborn babies to general anesthesia, correctly stating that this is an unacceptable risk for such a minor procedure and that better methods of providing pain relief are readily available.
Other, less informed, intactivists also have a go in trying to impart the notion that circumcision is detrimental to a child’s health, but some of them are so ridiculous in their erratic argumentation that they mainly appear pathetic (google translate the link and have a laugh). Luckily, my coreligionist and very eminent blogger; Leif Knudsen – Leifern – elegantly shreds all of their erratic arguments to pieces – thus getting it in the neck from furious and emotional intactivists. Interestingly, a Danish doctor Morten Frisch, who published a retrospective study (commonly known as the least reliable form of statistic study), where he concluded that circumcised men – and their partners – suffer reduced sexual pleasure after being circumcised in adulthood, tries to bully Mr. Knudsen into submission by some very very unprofessional means. I however, the avid BBC radio 4 listener, remember vividly how he was sunk in a radio debate on the Woman’s hour in 2011 for this flimsy piece of work. Mr. Frisch may have been tricked into thinking that he didn’t do so badly in the interview, but anybody who knows anything about British academia is that when your opponent appears to be polite and perhaps a little soft, its because the work you have presented simply isn’t passable, so no need for robust discussion. (You can google translate Leiferns blog post, or you could write him to ask him for an English version – fluent and all of that)
It is plain obvious that the target for this feverish campaign against circumcision is the Muslim community in Norway, but necessarily also hits the tiny Jewish community. Whereas (if I have understood correctly) the rite isn’t compulsory for Muslims, it is still a dearly held custom and one that my Muslim “cousins” aren’t going to let go that simply, for us Jews it is a mark of identification. A rite that binds our menfolk into a millennia old tradition, a sign of nationhood. It cannot be abolished, lest we cease to exist as a religion and a people. It is therefore very hurtful and offensive to read that Ms. Jenny Klinge, MP for the Center Party, continues on her warpath against our right to live in accordance with our religion and customs and call the practice a state sanctioned form of child abuse. Its
lifted from dagbladet.no (google translate… sorry)
– Publicly subsidized child abuse
Centre Party Jenny Klinge attacks new circumcision law .
The proposed law on ritual circumcision is just around the corner and expected to be presented to the Parliament in April . According to Minister of Health and Welfare Bent Høie health authorities will be responsible for conducting ritual circumcision, and although there will be a charge for this procedure, MP Jenny Klinge calls this a state subsidized child abuse.
– This is publicly subsidized child abuse. Siv Jensen is responsible for finances in this country , and the Norwegian health care system has more than enough challenges if we are not also to convert healthy children into patients . Previously it has been estimated that circumcision of boys is going to cost the government 13 million each year. Although parents have to pay a feef or the procedure, it is still going to be cost to the public purse of several million Kroner . I think we should use this money to treat sick children , not to cut small children who in the worst case can be injured and die as a result of the procedure, says Klinge .
Cecilie Brein – Karlsen , State Secretary of Health and Care Services, disagrees with the criticism from Klinge
– Unlike the Red-Green coalition , we have incorporated a statutory requirement for a fee based service . This will help cover costs and provide a clear signal that this is not regarded as a priority for the health services, says Brein – Karlsen .
It is the Parliament who will decide how large the fee will be when the proposal will be debated.
To ensure that the procedure is safe
The Progress Party believes that by facilitating the circumcision under the auspices of a specialist one ensures that the procedure is performed in a proper manner by competent personnel.
– We know that children have died and been seriously ill following circumcision. Only since Klinge’s government presented the draft proposal in 2011, 5,000 male children circumcised but we do not know where the procedures were carried out, nor do we know if adequate pain relief is administered. The interest of the child is our starting point and therefore it is important for us is to prevent children from being circumcised by untrained persons under hazardous conditions, says Brein – Karlsen .
In 2012 a two week old old infant died in Oslo after he had been circumcised at a medical clinic at Grønland. Klinge believes that although doctors perform the procedure , there is no guarantee that the surgery will be successful.
– In the United States, each year about 100 boys die because medically unnecessary circumcision. The outcome can be tragic even if doctors perform surgery. And who shall be responsible when things go wrong ? Luckily there is a total ban on all procedures of girls’ genitalia. It is a 10-year maximum penalty if girls are seriously injured or die as a result of circumcision , if a boy dies of the same, there is no legal sanction , says Klinge .
Age and consent
The Ombudsman has called for an age limit of 16 years, who are health legal age of majority. To believe the Ombudsman that children will get self-determination over their own bodies.
– The primary one is that boys are not able to make the choice today , and we are sure no one will be able to cut the genitals of both boys and girls without medical reason. Also boys have the right not to be subjected to a procedure which changes both the appearance and function of their genitals without their consent , said the ombudsman Anne Lindboe Dagbladet last week.
Jenny Klinge will go even further than the Ombudsman . She believes that the age limit for ritual circumcision should be 18 years .
– You must be 18 years old in Norway to vote , and the consequences of circumcision may be far more extensive than an error voting. I go beyond the Ombudsman , and suggests an age limit of 18 years . How can Treasury Jensen defend that we should put children through this? Why will not FRP rather put an age limit for male circumcision so that it is possible to choose even when one is old enough , ask Klinge .
Brein – Karlsen says that an age can cause the circumcision disappears underground.
– An age limit will act as a prohibition . It will cause a great risk that circumcision is carried out by inexperienced persons under hazardous conditions, she says .
Klinge said Norway should be a leader in this area. She wants the rights and interests of children should trump other considerations.
I shudder to think what would be the consequences if this MP ever should get in a position of power. She would gladly tread roughshod over other people’s sensitivities, but on that matter she would probably be well within the traditions of this very conspicuous party…
Luckily for me, this is not a matter of concern for me or anybody else in Israel, where the State guarantees full religious autonomy for all of its citizens, as behoves a full-fledged multicultural society.
Moreover, tomorrow morning we are going to celebrate the new arrival of a baby boy into our extended family. Snip-snip!