Already thousands of minors have undergone conversion therapy, many at the sole discretion of a parent or guardian. Help ensure that the youth of New Hampshire are no longer subject to this injustice by contacting Governor Chris Sununu in support of this bill. - State Rep. Eric Schleien
HUDSON, N.H. (PRWEB) May 10, 2018
New Hampshire House Bill 587 (HB 587), banning the practice of conversion therapy on minors, was recently amended and passed in the state Senate. The bill, which originated in the New Hampshire House of Representatives under State Rep. Eric Schleien’s (R-Hillsborough) sponsorship is now on the path to making it to the desk of New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu for signature.
Conversion therapy, also sometimes referred to as “sexual orientation change efforts” or “reparative therapy,” includes a range of practices that attempt to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Talk therapy is most commonly used by licensed healthcare professionals practicing conversion therapy, although some use “aversion treatments” that can include inducing nausea, vomiting, paralysis or applying electric shocks.
Leading professional medical and social science organizations have denounced conversion therapy for not only its ineffectiveness, but the associated dangers. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry warns, “Clinicians should be aware that there is no evidence that sexual orientation can be altered through therapy, and that attempts to do so may be harmful.” “The potential risks of reparative therapy are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior,” elaborates the American Psychiatric Association.
“Conversion therapy has already been deemed unethical by the foremost professional organizations,” explains Schleien. “Writing this bill into legislation enables the New Hampshire professional licensing boards to enact the disciplinary actions necessary to stop this dangerous and discredited practice.”
Under Schleien’s bill, any licensed health care professional practicing conversion therapy on a minor would be engaging in unprofessional conduct and subject to discipline by their licensing authority. In addition, HB 587 makes it easier for authorities to charge entities practicing conversion therapy with fraud.
In a study released in January of this year, the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimated 20,000 LGBT minors will undergo conversion therapy by a licensed health care professional in states without laws banning the practice. The number is much higher when it includes LGBT youth that will receive the treatment from a religious or spiritual advisor.
National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Born Perfect Strategist and conversion therapy survivor, Mathew Shurka, emphasizes the prevalence of the practice: “I am one of 700,000 people in the United States who have been through conversion therapy. After surviving five years of conversion therapy, I am fortunate enough to share my story, have my family by my side, and prevent other youth from ever being subjected to the cruel procedures of conversion therapy. 78,000 teenagers will go through conversion therapy in the next five years. My intention is to get that number to zero. New Hampshire being the next state to pass this bill will save lives, families, and protect our youth.”
Similar legislation in other states has received bipartisan support, with Republican governors in Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, and New Mexico signing bills banning conversion therapy into law. HB 587 was first voted down in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. It passed in January after a representative requested a re-vote when he realized he had mistakenly voted it down.
Schleien hopes LGBT youth undergoing the practice of conversion therapy will be quickly outlawed in New Hampshire. “We are very close to seeing HB 587 signed into law. This legislation is an important protection of our citizens’ and our children’s civil liberties. Already thousands of minors have undergone conversion therapy, many at the sole discretion of a parent or guardian. Help ensure that the youth of New Hampshire are no longer subject to this injustice by contacting Governor Chris Sununu in support of this bill.”
To contact Governor Chris Sununu in support of signing HB 587 into law:
Office of the Governor
107 North Main Street
Concord NH 03301