Idaho House Introduces Bill To Ban Conversion Therapy For Minors

Feb 11, 2020

Idaho could become the latest state to outlaw conversion therapy for minors under a new bill introduced Monday morning.

 

Conversion therapy is a practice discredited by major mental health organizations that promises to repress homosexuality or the expression of someone’s gender identity.

In 2009, the American Psychological Association found insufficient evidence that it works.

House Assistant Minority Leader John McCrostie (D-Garden City), who is openly gay, introduced a bill that would ban mental health professionals in Idaho from offering conversion therapy to anyone under 18 – something he’s unsuccessfully pushed for the past three years.

“Survivors of conversion therapy are at high risk for attempting suicide, suffering extreme depression, abuse of alcohol and/or illicit drugs and risky sexual behavior,” McCrostie said.

State code defines a mental health professional as a physician, professional counselor, psychologist, social worker or a nurse.

Anyone who violates this proposal, if it becomes law, could have their professional license suspended or revoked.

Like a law that went into effect in Utah last month, it would exempt clergy and family members, as long as they were not acting in their capacity as a mental health worker.

Nineteen states and Washington D.C. have already banned conversion therapy.

Rep. John Vander Woude (R-Nampa) unsuccessfully moved to quash the bill before it was introduced.

Vander Woude, House Majority Caucus Chair Megan Blanksma (R-Hammett) and Rep. Chad Christensen (R-Ammon) were the only committee members to vote against it.

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