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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Health Professions
Guidance Document Change: Consistent with the established position of the NASW, the Board considers “conversion therapy” or “sexual orientation change efforts” to be services that have the potential to be a danger to clients, especially minors. Thus, under regulations governing practitioners licensed or registered by the Board, practicing conversion therapy/sexual orientation change efforts with minors could result in a finding of misconduct and disciplinary action against the licensee or registrant.
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5/14/19  3:43 pm
Commenter: Missy Wesolowski, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia

Opposition to Conversion Therapy

I write on behalf of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia to support restrictions - and an outright ban - on sexual orientation conversion therapy in the Commonwealth.

Conversion therapy is opposed by most major professional health and mental health organizations. In fact, scientific research has found that sexual orientation change efforts are detrimental to personal and public health.  Research from the University of San Francisco found that young people who experience "shame" because of their sexual orientation were: 8 times more likely to attemp suicide; 6 times more likely to report high levels of depression; and 3 times more likely to use illegal drugs. 

Minors deserve special protections from abuse and other negative actions that put them at long-term risk of endangering themselves or others. Hence, the scientific evidence is clear that conversion therapy should be banned on minors.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia has called for a ban on this harmful practice through the legislative process.  We are hopeful that this important public health issue will now be addressed through the regulatory process.

Thank you.

Missy Wesolowski, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia

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