terça-feira, 1 de maio de 2012

“One of the most outrageous bills ever” - Measure would make it virtually impossible to get therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction in California

In California Catholic Daily

Suffering from unwanted same-sex attraction and want psychological help? Better hurry if you live in California. A bill currently being considered in the state legislature would make “sexual orientation change efforts” almost impossible to get for adults -- and illegal altogether for minors. 

“Senate bill 1172 would ban children under 18 from undergoing so-called sexual orientation-change efforts and would require adults seeking such treatment to sign informed consent forms indicating they understand the potential dangers, including depression and suicide, of reparative therapy and that it has no medical basis,” the measure’s sponsor, state Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, said in a press release.

Lieu’s bill would also create a new cause of action in civil law, permitting lawsuits to be brought against therapists offering “sexual orientation change efforts” if the treatment occurred “without first obtaining informed consent or by means of therapeutic deception, or if the sexual orientation change efforts were conducted on a patient who was under 18 years of age at any point during the use of the sexual orientation change efforts.”

“To obtain informed consent,” says Lieu’s bill, “a treating psychotherapist shall provide a patient with a form to be signed by the patient that provides informed consent. The form shall include the following statement:

Having a lesbian, gay, or bisexual sexual orientation is not a mental disorder. There is no scientific evidence that any types of therapies are effective in changing a person's sexual orientation. Sexual orientation change efforts can be harmful. The risks include, but are not limited to, depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior.

Medical and mental health associations that oppose the use of sexual orientation change efforts include the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Counseling Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

In addition, says SB 1172, “Under no circumstances shall a patient under 18 years of age undergo sexual orientation change efforts, regardless of the willingness of a patient's parent, guardian, conservator, or other person to authorize such efforts.”

Lieu, a self-identified Catholic, introduced the bill at the request of Equality California, a pro-homosexual lobbying group.

“I can honestly say this is one of the most outrageous, speech-chilling bills we have ever seen in California -- and that’s saying a lot,” said Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative legal group that strongly opposes the bill.

“SB 1172 blames those who believe change is possible for gay suicides, guilt, substance abuse, relationship problems, and a host of other ills,” said Pacific Justice Institute staff attorney Matthew McReynolds, who attended an April 23 hearing on the bill before the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee. “As if all that were not enough, the bill claims that sexually-confused youth who experience ‘family rejection… face especially serious health risks’ and the state has a ‘compelling interest’ to protect their health. The logical implication from these two assertions is that the state is giving itself the power to take kids away from parents who do not affirm the kids’ sexual confusion.”

Lieu’s bill cleared the Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee on a 5-3 vote along party lines, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed. It is now scheduled to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee, possibly as soon as May 8.

“For many years gay activists have been trying to convince the public that homosexual attractions cannot be changed,” said the National Association For Research & Therapy Of Homosexuality (NARTH) in a statement opposing SB 1172. “Since the evidence proves otherwise, they then moved on to trying to convince us that change therapies are ‘dangerous,’ but once again even the American Psychological Association agrees that no such evidence is available. Now in what is apparently a move of desperation they are trying to accomplish through fines and sanctions aimed directly at individual clients and their therapists what they could not accomplish through misinformation.”

NARTH is a 1000-member international association of psychology professionals who offer counseling to those with same-sex attraction who seek help.

“NARTH seeks to support the many homosexual men and women who are profoundly distressed by their condition,” says NARTH. “Homosexuality is experienced by them as completely contrary to their value system and their conviction that all men and women would normally be heterosexual were it not for disturbances in their early lives.”

“We acknowledge that many homosexual men and women do not wish to change their psychosexual adaptation, and we respect their wishes not to seek therapy,” the statement continues. “Furthermore we do not wish to diminish the rights of homosexually oriented people in society. However, we believe that treatment should be offered to those who voluntarily seek it.”

But Lieu calls such treatment “junk science” that must be stopped. “Under the guise of a California license, some therapists are taking advantage of vulnerable people by pushing dangerous sexual orientation-change efforts,” he said.

According to a legislative analyst’s review of the bill for the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee, the following organizations issued a joint letter opposing SB 1172:

California Psychological Association
California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors
California Psychiatric Association
California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Among other things, the professional organizations noted that, under SB 1172, the state is trying to “micromanage the work of individual therapists.”

Practitioners, they said in the joint letter, are already subject to regulation by licensing agencies that determine guidelines for appropriate professional and ethical conduct, and a “statutory ban on types of therapy is not the right venue and there is very little precedent in state law to make an outright ban on a specific type of therapy."