September 06, 2010

The Local – Swedish News in English

by David Landes

Doctors in western Sweden are refusing to carry out the circumcision of boys, despite clearance by elected officials to carry out the procedure for non-medical reasons.

The Västra Götaland region is obliged to procure healthcare for at least 300 operations each year among Jewish and Muslim families, according to the Göteborgs-Posten (GP) local daily.

Currently, health authorities in Örebro, Varmland, Västernorrland, Västerbotten and Jamtland refuse to sanction circumcisions on purely religious or cultural grounds.

“Now we have to go out and find someone who is willing to perform the operations. The doctors’ sector council (Sektorsrådet) have said no to these procedures. We respect the doctors’ position,” said Lars-Göran Moberg, head of the region’s healthcare committee to GP.

Paediatric surgeon John Westfelt can see no possibility for doctors within the public healthcare system to perform the operations.

“We have de-prioritised several other measures to help sick children, such as surgery on tight foreskins for medical reasons. And obviously we can not carry out these operations without sacrificing something else.”