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he Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act (TFPA), a federal bill introduced recently by Rep Ted Lieu (D, Calif), would outlaw “conversion therapy,” a practice that seeks to convert an individual’s sexual orientation (http://1.usa.gov/1KHw9lR). The bill classifies for-profit conversion therapy as an “unfair or deceptive act or practice,” opening violators up to prosecution by the Federal Trade Commission. Individuals could also bring civil lawsuits against conversion therapy practitioners.
In a statement supporting the proposed bill, Sandra G. Hassink, MD, and president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, wrote, “Homophobia and heterosexism inherent in conversion therapy can contribute to health disparities as marginalization negatively affects the health, mental health, and education of those who experience it. Struggles with self-image and self-esteem result in significant health disparities for sexual minority youth related to depression and suicidality, substance abuse, social anxiety, altered body image, and other mental health issues.”
Conversion therapy for minors is already banned in California (2012), New Jersey (2013), Washington, DC (2014), and Oregon (2015). Lawsuits challenging these bans as violations of free speech and freedom of religion have failed in New Jersey.