Circumcision Ban In Sweden Proposed Again

Preparing for a Jewish ritual circumcision with a Mogen shield (on the table, next to the scalpel)
Preparing for a Jewish ritual circumcision with a Mogen shield (on the table, next to the scalpel) © Photo: Dovid/??-by-sa 3.0
Circumcision Opponents Try Again to Ban the Practice in Sweden

Circumcision is a practice which was only recently legalized in Sweden with passage of a law back in 2001. Since that time, there have been those who view the practice as being harmful to boys and have sought to overturn the law.

The first major attempt was done by a bill proffered last October by the right-wing party known as Sweden Democrats, but the bill failed to win approval due in large measure to the popularity of circumcision among Swedes.

Unable to gain any traction through sovereign laws, the new push to overturn circumcision is by appealing to United Nations customs and agreements.

The Swedish Ombudsman for Children, Fredrik Malmberg, who is himself an opponent of circumcision now says that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is specifically against circumcision of anyone without their express consent. Malmberg says Sweden’s 2001 circumcision law runs afoul of the UN Convention.

“Circumcising a child without medical justification nor his consent contravenes this child’s human rights,” wrote Fredrik Malmberg in a text co-signed with health professionals and published in the daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

Circumcision is typically performed on boys when they are very young and unable to give consent, they argued.

“We consider circumcision of boys without the child’s consent to be in contravention of article 12 of U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which gives children the right to have an opinion in matters which concern them,” the article said

“The operation is painful, irreversible and can lead to dangerous complications,” Malmberg said.

Malmberg hasn’t explained why the 2012 legislation, which he supported, was even offered in the first place given that his current argument would suggest the failed legislative effort was superfluous. Is Malmberg really trying to conform to the UN or circumvent Sweden’s sovereignty? Most recently, Germany tried to ban the practice, but ultimately made allowance for religious purposes.

The government estimates that some 3,000 boys are circumcised every year in Sweden.

There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%.

On The Web:
Children’s Ombudsman calls for circumcision ban in Sweden

Karen is a Toronto based writer, and has been writing full-time for eCanadaNow since May of 2011, covering many topics including politics and world issues. Prior to her work writing and editing for eCanadaNow, she worked as a freelance journalist. You can email Karen at [Karene at]