Norway’s health minister said Wednesday the countryman no intention of banning religious circumcisions but should restrict the religious practice to be carried out only in hospitals.
“If the children are circumcised in hospitals by competent personnel, we will prevent complications,” Health Minister Bent Høie told the Aftenposten newspaper. “This is the most realistic way to ensure the little guys against damage. All the other proposals risk exposing the boys to injury.”
He said that stories last year that the government would ban circumcision were totally untrue, but Anne Lindboe, Norway Children’s Ombudswoman, said last year, “This is not due to any lack of understanding of minorities or religious traditions, but because the procedure is irreversible, painful and risky.”
“A ban on something that is so common for religious or cultural reasons would not be for the good of the children,” he was reported as saying by Norway’s English-language The Local newspaper.
Jewish boys traditionally are circumcised in a ceremony in the synagogue or in a banquet hall, where a festive meal immediately follows the ceremony.
The health minister’s attempt to make sure that circumcision is carried out under hospital sterility also would turn the rite into a totally sterile ceremony.
There still are voices in Norway calling for banning circumcision of babies or young boys.
He estimated that some 2,000 ritual circumcisions would be carried out in Norwegian hospitals annually, and said that the government had yet to decide who would bear the cost.