Jews and Muslims find a common enemy in defending their religious freedom — a misguided effort to ban circumcision in Denmark
On Friday, a petition arguing for a ban on circumcision for all children under the age of 18 crossed a 50,000-signature threshold in Denmark. That means the Danish parliament is required to debate and vote on the issue.
Proponents of male circumcision bans have historically compared male circumcision to female genital mutilation, arguing that the two should be treated similarly. But the comparison is facile.
The former is painful for years beyond the day it takes place; male circumcision is not. Female genital mutilation is done with the goal of limiting or destroying female sexual desire; male circumcision has nothing to do with controlling arousal or desire.
And female genital mutilation has no proven health benefits and, in fact, has been shown to have negative health consequences; male circumcision decreases the risk of penile cancer, sexually transmitted infections, and urinary tract infections. The World Health Organization has found that circumcision reduces the risk of HIV by 60% for heterosexual men.
Proponents also argue that circumcision fundamentally violates the rights of the child, who should be able to choose for themselves whether or not they want to be circumcised. This argument, too, is flawed. Children are dependent for many years of their lives, during which time thousands of decisions get made for them. For much of their lives, parents decide what and when their children eat, how they dress, where they go, and much more.