Because circumcision requires surgery, the Danish Medical Association has released a statement where it unequivocally says that it is ethically unacceptable to do the procedure especially on newborns and kids who are not old enough to choose for themselves.
In fact, in a policy statement, as reported by The New York Times, doctors from the group were considering suggesting a legal ban on the procedure for boys under 18 years old. The organization adds that circumcision is not without risks and should therefore only be done on children who need it.
Every individual has the right to decide what to with their bodies, said Lisa Møller, chair of the Doctors' Association Ethics Board in Denmark. “To be circumcised should be an informed, personal choice,” she told The Independent. “It is most consistent with the individual’s right to self-determination that parents not be allowed to make this decision, but that it is left up to the individual when he has come of age.”
In Denmark, the number of boys who undergo circumcision is between 1,000 to 2,000, the majority of which are Jewish and Muslim. A poll from 2016 shows that 87 percent of Danes support banning the practice for minors. This year, the Danish government has also required all circumcisions be reported to the country's national patient registry.
In the United States, “amputation of healthy infant foreskins constitutes the single most common surgical procedure in the United States -- a several hundred million dollars a year industry,” according to Dr. Morten Frisch, a contributor to the Huffington Post. It is a procedure that majority of Western countries disapprove of except for the U.S., added Dr. Frisch.
He argued that there are no immediate benefits to removing a healthy and functional part of child’s penis, citing that only 1 in 200 boys will develop a medical condition that will require a circumcision. “This should urge parents to abstain from unnecessary infant surgery and let their sons decide for themselves about the size, sensitivity, functionality and appearance of their manhoods once they get old enough to understand the consequences,” said. Dr. Frisch.
However, last February 2017, researchers in Australia released a study that found uncircumcised men have an 80-percent chance of developing a foreskin-related health problem. The same study also says the risk of developing an adverse condition due to circumcision is about one in 250 or less than one percent. (Denmark's policy statement was first released back in December 2016.)
In the Philippines, circumcision or tule in Filipino, is highly prevalent and routinely done. The World Health Organizationestimated that around 80-90% of Filipino men are circumcised, with the majority of boys undergoing the procedure between 5 to 9 years old (42%) or 10 to 14 years old (52%). The remaining are circumcised between 15 to 18 years old.
“I would recommend it be done when they are older or during the pre-teen years so that the patient already understands why this is done,” Dr. Michelle Vergara-Dela Cruz, a diplomate of the Philippine Pediatric Society, told SmartParenting.com.ph in an article. She adds that at an older age, “more or less they already know how to deal with it post-circumcision wound care. Like any other surgery (major and minor), there is always the risk for infection pre- and post-procedure.”
This time last year, the Department of Health released a statement about the unsafe and unhygienic practices of the “pukpok” method of circumcision, which are usually carried out by a medically untrained individual using crude tools and no anesthesia. Parents should instead take their sons to doctors or avail of medical missions that offer the procedure for free.