Norwegian hospitals refuse to assist in circumcisions

Breaking the law, two hospitals refuse to provide non-medical procedure to boys under three

Illustrative image of a circumcision. (yoglimogli, iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative image of a circumcision. (yoglimogli, iStock by Getty Images)

At least two hospitals in Norway are breaking Norwegian law by refusing to help parents who wish to have their sons circumcised, a Norwegian paper revealed.

Stavanger University Hospital in the country’s west and Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen are not cooperating on the non-medical circumcision of boys younger than three years, the Stavanger Aftenblad regional newspaper reported Monday.

The ban is in violation of Norwegian law, which requires public hospitals to offer ritual circumcision services either through their own facilities and staff or through a contractor, the newspaper reported.

However, the hospitals told Aftenblad that their policy is part of their regional health departments’ guidelines. The report did not say when the hospitals adopted the ban policy.

For children older than three, Stavanger further requires a referral from a general practitioner or family doctor. The mandated referral also runs contrary to Norway’s 2014 act on non-medical circumcision, which stipulates that the procedure must be performed under the supervision and in the presence of a licensed physician, but it may be physically carried out by other persons.

The Helse Nord medical group, which runs several clinics and hospitals, also requires referrals.

In Judaism, circumcision is performed on 8-day-old boys provided they are healthy. In Islam, the procedure typically occurs later in infancy.

Across Scandinavia, activists are promoting a ban on the non-medical male circumcision with the backing of liberals, who say the practices are cruel, and nationalists, who view them as a foreign import to predominantly Christian societies.

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