The circumcision debate that refuses to die

One would have thought that after a very thorough public debate, a Law proposal and a robust Parliamentary session before the Law was adapted, “certain” persons active in the national debate, would take it down a notch or two with regards to circumcision. Unfortunately, we continue to see a strong and increasing attempts to ban this practice, most central to Jews and Muslims alike. No sooner has the Law come into effect, and the Children’s Ombudsman is busy doing the footwork to have the law repealed, urologists up and down the coast of Norway swear they will refuse the service, while a certain Christian newspaper – Vårt Land – sees it as its business to recycle a grossly exaggerated account from a Danish chap who was circumcised as a child on account that his father is Jewish. This is presented as some harrowing proof that circumcision is bad for you. At a time when more integration of Muslims in Europe is called for (according to President Obama) – since, according to the Children’s Ombudsman, it is the Muslims who need to be educated on the “dangers” of circumcision, it is ironic to observe how the same people who preach multiculti with endearing naiveté, hammer the Muslims for preserving an important rite for self-identification. She is also making a mockery of her medical skills since she keeps referring to a Danish scientist who lies at least 10 standard deviations outside the norm (sorry, just couldn’t resist the technical jargon), who when confronted with facts, Morten Frisch spits and hisses like an angry cat and dishes out profanities in stead of actual arguments. It appears to be of no significance when the leading urologists, leading epidemiologists time after time highlight the positive health effects of circumcision, not only in Africa where circumcision is one of the strategic tools to prevent transmission of the virus in vulnerable populations on that continent. Circumcision is also a major factor in reducing the risk of penile cancer in men, while it is also a major factor for reduced risk of cervical cancer in women. These are real studies conducted with proper controls, yet for the somewhat less renown and prestigious researchers mentioned above, we are rather to get ourselves worked up about a rather doubtful claim that circumcision causes autism (a claim Mr. Frisch is being lampooned for).

Lifted from Vårt Land (google translate)

– Its is a daily suffering to be circumcised
Danish Svend Ravn was circumcised when he was little, and today has problems both with everyday life and with sex. – I feel great sorrow, he says to Vårt Land.
Lars Martin Gimse

“Dear Norwegian politicians. My foreskin is gone. And I suffer the loss every single day. You should use the opportunity to stop the millennia long injustice against young boys, “wrote Svend Ravn in an article in Aftenposten last spring, shortly after parliament agreed to ritual circumcision of male infants.

The article was first published in Danish Berlingske Tidende, and received great attention in Denmark, and to some extent in Norway.

– A sexual problem

At the end, all public hospitals in Norway required to offer ritual circumcision of newborns. Svend Ravn is one of those who were circumcised as a baby. He has advocated banning circumcision of minors when it is not medically justified and wishes that he had not been circumcised.

– I feel great sorrow. I wish that I had been given the opportunity to choose for myself.

– How do you notice in your day to day life that you are circumcised?

– There is a daily suffering to be circumcised. When I bicycle, go for a walk or just dry myself after a bath. When the unprotected head of the penis rubs against something, it is very uncomfortable. Moreover it reduces the sensitivity of the penile head, more and more with age. It becomes a sexual problem, simply because it becomes difficult to obtain sufficient pleasure, says Ravn to Vårt Land.

He says that because of this some circumcised men try to protect themselves by pulling the remaining skin together over the glans, or using tools you can buy on the internet.

– That there is a market for these tools clearly shows that it is not only me who has this problem, but many circumcised men, Ravn claims.

He says he is pleasantly surprised by all the response he got after he told  his own history, and that he received praise for having raised a taboo.

more knowledge

Ravn’s father was Jewish, and that was also why he was circumcised when he was little. But today Ravn neither Jew nor a part of the Jewish culture.

Ravn says that he is sure that parents who go with thoughts to circumcise his child only wants very best for them, but he urges that they put off their decision after getting more knowledge

– Tradition and religion has one view of circumcision, but parents must also seek information on the internet from all men and organizations that speak about the personal costs of ritual circumcision. And then I would ask parents: How can you be sure that their kid is not like me and many others circumcised men, who feel robbed of an incredibly important part of their body? And what are the risks of not to circumcise their boy?

Stamp of approval

– Do you have some clear advice to Norwegian politicians in this debate?

– Norwegian politicians should follow their convictions and conscience. They should adhere to if they want boys to have the opportunity to choose whether they want to be circumcised or not, thus introducing an age limit for ritual circumcision. If they go in for a ban on all forms of female circumcision, they should ponder why not the same protection should apply babes boys. On the background they should also consider whether they want approve of ritual circumcision by allowing hospitals perform this assault, said Ravn

A small and totally unscientific survey among circumcised men in my immediate neighborhood dispels such claims as unfounded (one neighbour kindly offered to show me personally, but to avoid a major domestic scene, I had to decline this opportunity…)

While urologists think they can ban the practice by refusing to carry it out, a spokesperson for the Ministry of health is trying to impose some order:

lifted from Vårt Land, google translate

Cleaning up the circumcision controversy
Government agrees that doctors refuse circumcision as long as there is one offer in each of the four health regions, said State Secretary Cecilie Brein-Karlsen.
Bjørgulv K. Bjåen


January 1 became law on ritual circumcision in force:

– It is not so that all public hospitals to perform circumcisions. Therefore, it is okay that more doctors now stands there and says that they refuse to perform these procedures, and uses medical and moral justifications.

Brein-Karlsen says that ultimately keeps the government if it is only an offer in each health that can perform omskjøringer on boy babies. What is important in this assessment is whether the intent of the law is safeguarded – that is, when circumcision will happen, it will happen in safe conditions with pain relief.

– One offer in each of the four regional health authorities may be sufficient, says Brein-Karlsen (FRP).

Ethically problematic

Already in the preparatory works to the new law, it is said that one should listen to doctors’ conscience:

“The Ministry sees that some health professionals will be able to find it professionally and ethically problematic to perform or assist in the ritual circumcision, but does not suggest a specific reservation right for health professionals when it comes to ritual circumcision, said the setting of the Health Parliamentary.

Therefore all parliamentary parties agreed that the latter half of paragraph 4 of the new law had to read as follows:

“To the extent not hinder an appropriate offer, consideration shall be given to healthcare professionals who for reasons of conscience does not want to perform or assist in such procedures.”

complies with the Law

– Therefore we are not surprised that more doctors now say that they will not perform circumcisions, arguing medical and moral, said Undersecretary Brein-Karlsen.

She said the government is confident that the legal precepts are met: Specialist will perform ritual circumcision of boys.

2 comments for “The circumcision debate that refuses to die

  1. motti
    January 23, 2015 at 4:31 am

    Jealousy is a form of hatred.
    Those who hate do so as they jealous.
    We, as a people have contributed so much mental, physical, social and welfare benefits to the world. Strange, when awe are circumcised that we can do this. Strange also that when Abraham circumcised both sons, he was told their numbers would be like the sand etc.

    The man with a Jewish father might require psychiatric help regarding his lack of sexuality. Shame. Poor man. As old as I am , my thoughts have never changed, even if the ability no longer matches that of an 18 year old

  2. PeaceKeeper
    January 23, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    The funny part of the Norwegian discussion in regards to circumcision is that they do not realize all the people among them are doing it and have no problems. Not only the Jews and the Muslims but also the majority of Americans and Philippines are, and guess what? you do not hear of any complains from those groups either.
    The Norwegian mentality on this is nothing but plain and simple prejudice against other customs – what we would usually call racism, or the root to it.

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