Thoughts on the Conversion Bill

HB 587 seeks to prohibit licensed mental health professionals from offering talk therapy to youth who are experiencing unwanted same-sex attractions or gender dysphoria.

Readings* I’ve received denote three main issues with this bill.

  1. Criminalizes talk therapy, not physically abusive practices.

    This bill is not about behavioral “conversion” via physical coercion or abusive practices such as electroshock.  The bill is about talk therapy.  It appears “scare” tactics are being used in order to ban talk therapy.

  2. Unnecessarily interferes in clinical relationships.

    It disregards the needs and goals of a client seeking therapy for unwanted same-sex attractions or gender dysphoria.  In it, parents are treated as irrelevant to their own children’s health.

  3. Introduces contradictory public policies

    HB 587 would produce two contradictory policies.  Currently, NHDHH allows Medicaid funds to be used for “gender reassignment” surgery.  HB 587, however, would ban talk therapy for minors who want to resolve unwanted gender dysphoria.  This could result in the state threatening counselors who offer talk therapy for a minor if it might resolve gender dysphoria, yet pay for irreversible surgery on the same minor.

  • Cornerstone Briefing/Breaking Down HB 587

Because of the unintended consequences this bill would produce, I voted against it and will also vote against reconsideration.

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