senate Bill S4917B

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:
A6983B
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:S4917B

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to
prohibiting mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orien-
tation 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 unprofes-
sional 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 regu-
lating 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 Appro-
priate 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 behav-
ior 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 deal-
ing 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--B

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               May 1, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sens. HOYLMAN, GIANARIS, AVELLA, CARLUCCI, HASSELL-THOMP-
  SON, KENNEDY, KRUEGER, MONTGOMERY, O'BRIEN, PERALTA, RIVERA,  SERRANO,
  SQUADRON,  STAVISKY,  TKACZYK  --  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 -- 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, 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.
  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, bisexual or transgender 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-

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD09824-07-4

S. 4917--B                          2

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 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 counterbalanced 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 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.

S. 4917--B                          3

  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
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

S. 4917--B                          4

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.
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

S. 4917--B                          5

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 TITLE
TWO-A OF ARTICLE TWO OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH LAW SHALL BE  SUBJECT  TO  THE
PENALTIES  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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