For Immediate Release
Contact: Rep. Natalie Higgins, 978-602-3772, Natalie.Higgins@mahouse.gov
July 6, 2018
House Passes Legislation to Ban Conversion Therapy
(BOSTON) – Representative Natalie Higgins (D-Leominster) joined her colleagues in the House to pass legislation that will prevent healthcare professionals from engaging in “conversion therapy” including practices that attempt to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
This bill outlines and excludes counseling and healthcare practices that are designed to support an individual and facilitate coping.
"I am proud to stand with my House colleagues today and vote to ban the use of conversion therapy amongst our young and vulnerable residents," said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). "This practice has no scientific basis, is rooted in bigotry and can have lasting, detrimental health effects. In short, there is no place for this cruel activity in Massachusetts. I would like to thank Chairwoman Khan for her tireless advocacy, as well as Leader Peake and Chairman Sánchez."
“A big thank you to Speaker DeLeo who has once again brought forward legislation that will protect our youth from harm,” said Representative Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown). “This bill is all about protecting our kids. Finally, this discredited practice will be relegated to the trash bin where it belongs!”
“I am thankful for Chairwoman Khan’s leadership on this legislation to protect the children of the Commonwealth,” said Rep. Natalie Higgins. “I am proud to continue to stand with my colleagues to say hate has no place in Massachusetts.”
“As a psychiatric nurse, the House Chair of Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities, and a longtime advocate for LGBTQ rights, I was honored to sponsor this critical piece of legislation,” said Representative Khan (D-Newton). "I want to express my thanks to the Speaker and my colleagues for their passionate support of the bill. The bill is a commonsense measure to ensure medically sound, professional conduct by state-licensed health providers and to protect LGBTQ youth from being exposed to fraudulent, ineffective and very harmful practices. I am proud to have filed this legislation and to be working with a broad coalition of over twenty statewide legal, mental health, child welfare, and LGBTQ organizations, as well as parents dedicated to promoting the well-being and safety of our children in Massachusetts.”
According to the American Psychological Association, conversion therapy “may pose serious risk of harm,” such as “confusion, depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, and suicidality”.
Violation of this law would result in a healthcare provider being subject to discipline from their appropriate licensing board, including suspension or revocation of their license.