MHA Submits Testimony Supporting Ban on "Conversion Therapy"

Last week, MHA submitted testimony strongly supporting a bill (HB 140) filed by Rep. Kay Khan (D-Newton) that would prohibit any licensed medical, mental health, or human service professional from engaging with a minor in so-called conversion therapy – that is, attempting to change a minor’s sexual orientation or sincerely held conviction about gender.

Fifteen states already ban such “change efforts,” which are condemned by leading professional organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association.

The Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities, chaired by Khan and Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston), held a hearing on Khan’s bill last Tuesday, and voted to give it a favorable report.

In offering its support for the conversion prohibition, MHA wrote, “State-licensed professionals are expected to provide support and appropriate treatment to their clients, while abiding by Hippocratic maxim of, ‘Do no harm.’ When it comes to children, such professionals strive to assist their clients with learning to accept themselves for who they are and to develop effective coping skills to relieve emotional suffering through various forms of therapeutic treatment.”

On Thursday, Governor Charlie Baker indicated that “if a conversion therapy bill gets to my desk and we don't see any other issues with it, it's something we'd be inclined to support.”