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Norwegian Doctors warn against child exam

Aftenposten.no | June 6, 2005

A parliamentary majority for obligatory checks of all young girls to reveal instances of female circumcision has caused concern in medical circles.

Norway's parliament, the Storting, recently resolved to ask the government to introduce the mandatory examination of the genitalia of small children in order to overcome the problem of female circumcision in some communities.

Magnhild Meltveit Kleppa of the Center Party insists that this is not a gynecological check and said that professionals could detect sexual mutilation with the naked eye, something experts dispute.

"I believe it is difficult to defend such a resolution. The child can become an innocent victim and it can also make necessary contact with the health system difficult later," Torkild Aas at the social pediatrics ward of Ullevål University Hospital told newspaper VG.

Director Bjørn Busund at the gynecological ward at Ullevål agreed that in difficult cases doctors would have to touch the child's sex organs to carry out an investigation.

"Just putting a little girl on her back and explaining that 'Now we are going to check what kind of parents you have' can be difficult," Aas said.

Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Erna Solberg was also concerned by the resolution, and as a mother of a young girl herself said that she found the proposal degrading to tens of thousands of girls.

(Aftenposten English Web Desk/NTB)

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