Denmark's parliament will today debate whether male circumcision should be more tightly controlled, days after a finding that 74% of Danes think the procedure should be restricted or banned altogether.
The poll, commissioned by the Danish newspaper Metroxpress, interviewed 1,000 people and found that three-fourths of respondents think there should be either a full or partial ban on infant circumcision. Only 10% thought that there should be no restrictions.
Later today the issue will be debated by politicians, with both the left-wing Red-Green alliance (Ehedslisten) and libertarian party Liberal Alliance advocating some form of ban. Last year, the Council of Europe adopted a resolution opposing all kinds of ritual circumcision, saying they cast a "moral stain" and "foster hate and racist trends in Europe." The council's resolution recommended that all 47 member states should attempt to regulate circumcision in some way.
In the UK, approximately 1/3 of men were circumcised before the introduction of the National Health Service in 1948, but rates soon began to fall as the organisation deemed that the operation was not medically necessary and therefore would not be covered. Today, approximately 9% of men in the UK are circumcised, the BBC reports. The practice of male circumcision is also falling in the US, where rates of circumcision were traditionally been much higher, hovering at approximately 1/2 of males born for the past two decades.
There is still a great deal of disagreement around the world over the medical impacts of the practice, The Guardian says. Last year the Danish medical authority, Sundhedsstyrelsen, concluded that there was not enough documentation to recommend the practice on medical grounds, but conversely, there is not enough evidence of risk to justify a total ban either.
Between 1,000 and 2,000 circumcisions are performed in Denmark each year, The Independent reports, with Muslim and Jewish boys making up the great majority of patients.