senate Bill S4917A

Amended

Designates engaging in sexual orientation change efforts by mental health care professionals upon patients under 18 years of age

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 01 / May / 2013
    • REFERRED TO HIGHER EDUCATION
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO HIGHER EDUCATION
  • 09 / Jan / 2014
    • AMEND (T) AND RECOMMIT TO HIGHER EDUCATION
  • 09 / Jan / 2014
    • PRINT NUMBER 4917A
  • 25 / Apr / 2014
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO HIGHER EDUCATION
  • 25 / Apr / 2014
    • PRINT NUMBER 4917B

Summary

Designates as professional misconduct, engaging in sexual orientation change efforts by mental health care professionals upon patients under 18 years of age.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A6983A
Versions:
S4917
S4917A
S4917B
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Higher Education
Law Section:
Education Law
Laws Affected:
Add §§6509-d & 6531-a, Ed L

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4917A REVISED 1/17/14

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to
prohibiting mental health professionals from engaging in sexual
orientation change efforts with a patient under the age of eighteen
years and expanding the definition of professional misconduct with
respect to mental health professionals

PURPOSE: This bill would prohibit a mental health professional, as
defined, from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts, as
defined, with a patient under 18 years of age. The bill would provide
that any sexual orientation change efforts attempted on a patient
under 18 years of age by a licensed mental health professional shall
be considered unprofessional conduct and shall subject the provider to
discipline by the provider's licensing entity.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: This bill adds new Sections 6509-d
and 6531-a to the Education Law regulating professional misconduct.

Section 1 establishes the legislative intent of the bill.

Sections 2 and 3 define certain terms and provide that the license,
registration or certificate of a mental health professional shall be
revoked, suspended or annulled, or such professional shall be subject
to discipline by the provider's licensing entity, if such mental
health professional engages in sexual orientation change efforts upon
any patient under the age of eighteen years old. The bill only applies
to mental health professionals licensed with the State of New York
under Articles 131, 153, 154, or 163 of the Education Law, and does
not apply to counseling services provided by members of the clergy, or
advice, information, or instruction provided by non-licensed
individuals, churches, organizations, or not-for-profit businesses.

Section 4 establishes the effective date of this law as immediately.

JUSTIFICATION: Being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is not a
disease, disorder, illness, deficiency, or shortcoming. The major
professional associations of mental health practitioners and
researchers in the United States have recognized this fact for nearly
40 years.

The American Psychological Association convened a Task Force on
Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation in 2009 which
concluded that sexual orientation change efforts can pose critical
health risks to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people ranging
from confusion and depression, to substance abuse and suicide. In
response to these findings, the Association issued a resolution, which
stated that portraying homosexuality as a mental illness should
instead give way to psychotherapy, social support, and educational
services.

The American School Counselor Associations, the American Academy of
Pediatrics, the National Association of Social Workers, the American
Counseling Association Governing Council, the American Psychoanalytic
Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
and the Pan American Health Organization have all concluded that the
risks of conversion therapy are too great. These dangerous treatments


that attempt to address depression, anxiety and self-destructive
behavior may only serve to reinforce self-hatred.

While much has been published on this topic, an article by Caitlin
Ryan et al. entitled "Family Rejection as a Predictor. of Negative
Health Outcomes in White and Latino Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Young
Adults" states well in its conclusion that minors who experience
family rejection based on their sexual orientation face especially
serious health risks. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender young
adults who reported higher levels of family rejection during
adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted
suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression,
3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and 3.4 times more likely
to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse compared
with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family
rejection.

In these harmful procedures, the possibility that the person might
achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal relationships as a gay
man or lesbian is not presented, nor are alternative approaches to
dealing with the effects of societal stigmatization discussed.

New York has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and
psychological well being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual,
and transgender youth, and in protecting its minors against exposure
to serious harms caused by sexual orientation change efforts.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                 4917--A

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               May 1, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sens.  HOYLMAN,  GIANARIS, KENNEDY, KRUEGER, MONTGOMERY,
  PERALTA, RIVERA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to
  be committed to the Committee on Higher Education  --  recommitted  to
  the  Committee  on  Higher Education in accordance with Senate Rule 6,
  sec. 8 -- committee discharged, bill  amended,  ordered  reprinted  as
  amended and recommitted to said committee

AN  ACT  to  amend  the education law, in relation to prohibiting mental
  health  professionals  from  engaging  in  sexual  orientation  change
  efforts  with  a patient under the age of eighteen years and expanding
  the definition of  professional  misconduct  with  respect  to  mental
  health professionals

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1.  Legislative findings and intent.  The  Legislature  hereby
finds and declares all of the following:
  a.  Being  lesbian,  gay,  or  bisexual  is  not  a disease, disorder,
illness, deficiency, or shortcoming. The major professional associations
of mental health practitioners and researchers in the United States have
recognized this fact for nearly 40 years.
  b. The American Psychological Association convened  a  Task  Force  on
Appropriate  Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation. The task force
conducted a systematic review of  peer-reviewed  journal  literature  on
sexual orientation change efforts, and issued a report in 2009. The task
force concluded that sexual orientation change efforts can pose critical
health  risks to lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, including confusion,
depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal,
suicidality,  substance  abuse,  stress,   disappointment,   self-blame,
decreased self-esteem and authenticity to others, increased self-hatred,
hostility and blame toward parents, feelings of anger and betrayal, loss
of  friends  and  potential  romantic  partners,  problems in sexual and
emotional intimacy, sexual dysfunction, high-risk  sexual  behaviors,  a

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD09824-03-4

S. 4917--A                          2

feeling  of being dehumanized and untrue to self, a loss of faith, and a
sense of having wasted time and resources.
  c.  The  American  Psychological  Association  issued  a resolution on
Appropriate Affirmative Responses to  Sexual  Orientation  Distress  and
Change Efforts in 2009, which states: The American Psychological Associ-
ation  advises  parents,  guardians, young people, and their families to
avoid sexual orientation change efforts that portray homosexuality as  a
mental  illness  or  developmental  disorder  and to seek psychotherapy,
social supports, and educational services that provide accurate informa-
tion on sexual orientation and sexuality,  increase  family  and  school
support, and reduce rejection of sexual minority youth.
  d. The American Psychiatric Association published a position statement
in  March  of  2000 in which it stated: "Psychotherapeutic modalities to
convert or 'repair' homosexuality are based  on  developmental  theories
whose   scientific  validity  is  questionable.  Furthermore,  anecdotal
reports of 'cures' are counterbalances by anecdotal claims of psycholog-
ical harm. In the last four decades, 'reparative'  therapists  have  not
produced  any  rigorous scientific research to substantiate their claims
of cure. Until there is such research available, the American  Psychiat-
ric  Association  recommends  that  ethical  practitioners  refrain from
attempts to change individuals' sexual orientation, keeping in mind  the
medical  dictum to first, do no harm.  The potential risks of reparative
therapy are great, including depression,  anxiety  and  self-destructive
behavior,  since  therapist  alignment  with societal prejudices against
homosexuality may  reinforce  self-hatred  already  experienced  by  the
patient. Many patients who have undergone reparative therapy relate that
they  were  inaccurately told that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy indi-
viduals who never achieve acceptance or  satisfaction.  The  possibility
that  the  person  might  achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal
relationships as a gay man or lesbian is not presented, nor are alterna-
tive approaches to dealing with the effects of  societal  stigmatization
discussed.   Therefore, the American Psychiatric Association opposes any
psychiatric treatment such as reparative or conversion therapy which  is
based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder
or  based  upon  the  a  priori  assumption that a patient should change
his/her sexual homosexual orientation."
  e. The American School Counselor Association's position  statement  on
professional  school  counselors  and  lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgen-
dered, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth states: It is not the role  of  the
professional  school  counselor  to attempt to change a student's sexual
orientation/gender identity but instead  to  provide  support  to  LGBTQ
students  to promote student achievement and personal well-being. Recog-
nizing that sexual orientation is not an illness and  does  not  require
treatment, professional school counselors may provide individual student
planning or responsive services to LGBTQ students to promote self-accep-
tance,  deal with social acceptance, understand issues related to coming
out, including issues that families may face when a student goes through
this process and identify appropriate community resources.
  f. The American Academy of Pediatrics in 1993 published an article  in
its  journal,  Pediatrics,  stating:  Therapy  directed  at specifically
changing sexual orientation is contraindicated,  since  it  can  provoke
guilt  and  anxiety  while  having  little or no potential for achieving
changes in orientation.
  g. The American Medical  Association  Council  on  Scientific  Affairs
prepared a report in 1994 in which it stated: Aversion therapy (a behav-
ioral  or  medical  intervention which pairs unwanted behavior , in this

S. 4917--A                          3

case, homosexual behavior, with unpleasant sensations or aversive conse-
quences) is no longer recommended for  gay  men  and  lesbians.  Through
psychotherapy,  gay  men  and lesbians can become comfortable with their
sexual orientation and understand the societal response to it.
  h.  The  National Association of Social Workers prepared a 1997 policy
statement in which it stated: Social stigmatization of lesbian, gay  and
bisexual  people  is  widespread  and  is a primary motivating factor in
leading some people to seek sexual orientation  changes.  Sexual  orien-
tation  conversion  therapies assume that homosexual orientation is both
pathological and freely chosen. No data demonstrates that reparative  or
conversion therapies are effective, and, in fact, they may be harmful.
  i.  The  American  Counseling  Association  Governing Council issued a
position statement in April of 1999, and in it the  council  states:  We
oppose  'the  promotion of 'reparative therapy' as a 'cure' for individ-
uals who are homosexual.
  j. The American Psychoanalytic Association issued a position statement
in June 2012 on attempts to change sexual orientation, gender, identity,
or gender expression, and in it the  association  states:  As  with  any
societal   prejudice,  bias  against  individuals  based  on  actual  or
perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression nega-
tively affects mental health, contributing to an enduring sense of stig-
ma and pervasive self-criticism  through  the  internalization  of  such
prejudice.    Psychoanalytic  technique  does  not  encompass purposeful
attempts to 'convert,' 'repair,' change or shift an individual's  sexual
orientation,  gender  identity  or  gender  expression.    Such directed
efforts are against fundamental principles of  psychoanalytic  treatment
and often result in substantial psychological pain by reinforcing damag-
ing internalized attitudes.
  k.  The  American  Academy  of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in 2012
published an article in its journal, Journal of the American Academy  of
Child  and  Adolescent  Psychiatry,  stating: Clinicians should be aware
that there is no evidence that sexual orientation can be altered through
therapy, and that attempts to do so may be harmful. There is  no  empir-
ical evidence adult homosexuality can be prevented if gender nonconform-
ing  children are influenced to be more gender conforming. Indeed, there
is not medically valid basis for attempting  to  prevent  homosexuality,
which  is  not  an  illness. On the contrary, such efforts may encourage
family rejection and undermine self-esteem,  connectedness  and  caring,
important  protective  factors  against  suicidal ideation and attempts.
Given that there is no evidence that efforts to alter sexual orientation
are effect, beneficial or necessary, and the possibility that they carry
the risk of significant harm, such interventions are contraindicated.
  l. The Pan American Health Organization,  a  regional  office  of  the
World  Health  Organization, issued a statement in May of 2012 and in it
the organization states: These supposed conversion therapies  constitute
a  violation  of the ethical principles of health care and violate human
rights that are protected  by  international  regional  agreements.  The
organization  also  noted  that reparative therapies lack medical justi-
fication and represent a serious threat to the health and well-being  of
affected people.
  m. Minors who experience family rejection based on their sexual orien-
tation face especially serious health risks. In one study, lesbian, gay,
and bisexual young adults who reported higher levels of family rejection
during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted
suicide,  5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4
times more likely to use illegal drugs, and 3.4  times  more  likely  to

S. 4917--A                          4

report  having  engaged  in unprotected sexual intercourse compared with
peers from families that reported no or low levels of family  rejection.
This  is  documented  by  Caitlin  Ryan et al. in their article entitled
Family Rejection as a Predictor of Negative Health Outcomes in White and
Latino  Lesbian,  Gay,  and  Bisexual Young Adults (2009) 123 Pediatrics
346.
  n. New York has a compelling interest in protecting the  physical  and
psychological  well-being  of  minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual,
and transgender youth, and in protecting its minors against exposure  to
serious harms caused by sexual orientation change efforts.
  S  2.  The  education law is amended by adding a new section 6509-d to
read as follows:
  S 6509-D. ADDITIONAL DEFINITION  OF  PROFESSIONAL  MISCONDUCT;  MENTAL
HEALTH PROFESSIONALS. 1. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION:
  A.  "MENTAL  HEALTH  PROFESSIONAL"  MEANS  A  PERSON  SUBJECT  TO  THE
PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE, ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-FOUR OR
ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-THREE OF THIS TITLE; OR ANY OTHER PERSON DESIGNATED AS
A MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL PURSUANT TO LAW, RULE OR REGULATION.
  B. "SEXUAL ORIENTATION CHANGE EFFORTS" (I) MEANS  ANY  PRACTICE  BY  A
MENTAL  HEALTH  PROFESSIONAL THAT SEEKS TO CHANGE AN INDIVIDUAL'S SEXUAL
ORIENTATION, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, EFFORTS TO CHANGE BEHAVIORS,
GENDER IDENTITY, OR GENDER EXPRESSIONS, OR TO ELIMINATE OR REDUCE SEXUAL
OR ROMANTIC ATTRACTIONS OR FEELINGS TOWARDS INDIVIDUALS OF THE SAME  SEX
AND (II) SHALL NOT INCLUDE COUNSELING FOR A PERSON SEEKING TO TRANSITION
FROM ONE GENDER TO ANOTHER, OR PSYCHOTHERAPIES THAT: (A) PROVIDE ACCEPT-
ANCE,  SUPPORT  AND  UNDERSTANDING  OF  PATIENTS  OR THE FACILITATION OF
PATIENTS' COPING, SOCIAL SUPPORT AND IDENTITY EXPLORATION  AND  DEVELOP-
MENT,  INCLUDING  SEXUAL ORIENTATION-NEUTRAL INTERVENTIONS TO PREVENT OR
ADDRESS UNLAWFUL CONDUCT OR UNSAFE SEXUAL PRACTICES; AND (B) DO NOT SEEK
TO CHANGE SEXUAL ORIENTATION.
  2. IT SHALL BE PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT FOR  A  MENTAL  HEALTH  PROFES-
SIONAL  TO  ENGAGE IN SEXUAL ORIENTATION CHANGE EFFORTS UPON ANY PATIENT
UNDER THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN YEARS,  AND  ANY  MENTAL  HEALTH  PROFESSIONAL
FOUND  GUILTY  OF  SUCH  MISCONDUCT  UNDER  THE PROCEDURES PRESCRIBED IN
SECTION SIXTY-FIVE HUNDRED TEN OF THIS SUBARTICLE SHALL  BE  SUBJECT  TO
THE  PENALTIES  PRESCRIBED  IN SECTION SIXTY-FIVE HUNDRED ELEVEN OF THIS
SUBARTICLE.
  S 3. The education law is amended by adding a new  section  6531-a  to
read as follows:
  S  6531-A.  ADDITIONAL  DEFINITION  OF PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT; MENTAL
HEALTH PROFESSIONALS. 1. DEFINITIONS. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION:
  A.  "MENTAL  HEALTH  PROFESSIONAL"  MEANS  A  PERSON  SUBJECT  TO  THE
PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-ONE OF THIS TITLE.
  B.  "SEXUAL  ORIENTATION  CHANGE  EFFORTS" (I) MEANS ANY PRACTICE BY A
MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL THAT SEEKS TO CHANGE AN  INDIVIDUAL'S  SEXUAL
ORIENTATION, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, EFFORTS TO CHANGE BEHAVIORS,
GENDER IDENTITY, OR GENDER EXPRESSIONS, OR TO ELIMINATE OR REDUCE SEXUAL
OR ROMANTIC ATTRACTIONS OR FEELINGS TOWARDS INDIVIDUALS OF THE SAME SEX;
AND (II) SHALL NOT INCLUDE COUNSELING FOR A PERSON SEEKING TO TRANSITION
FROM ONE GENDER TO ANOTHER, OR PSYCHOTHERAPIES THAT: (A) PROVIDE ACCEPT-
ANCE,  SUPPORT  AND  UNDERSTANDING  OF  PATIENTS  OR THE FACILITATION OF
PATIENTS' COPING, SOCIAL SUPPORT, AND IDENTITY EXPLORATION AND  DEVELOP-
MENT,  INCLUDING  SEXUAL ORIENTATION-NEUTRAL INTERVENTIONS TO PREVENT OR
ADDRESS UNLAWFUL CONDUCT OR UNSAFE SEXUAL PRACTICES; AND (B) DO NOT SEEK
TO CHANGE SEXUAL ORIENTATION.

S. 4917--A                          5

  2. IT SHALL BE PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT FOR  A  MENTAL  HEALTH  PROFES-
SIONAL  TO  ENGAGE IN SEXUAL ORIENTATION CHANGE EFFORTS UPON ANY PATIENT
UNDER THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN YEARS,  AND  ANY  MENTAL  HEALTH  PROFESSIONAL
FOUND GUILTY OF SUCH MISCONDUCT UNDER THE PROCEDURES PRESCRIBED IN TITLE
TWO-A  OF  ARTICLE  TWO OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH LAW SHALL BE SUBJECT TO THE
PENALIZES PRESCRIBED IN SECTION  TWO  HUNDRED  THIRTY-A  OF  THE  PUBLIC
HEALTH  LAW, AS ADDED BY CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED SIX OF THE LAWS OF NINETEEN
HUNDRED NINETY-ONE.
  S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.

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