The New Mexico Senate is considering a bill sponsored by Senator Jacob Canderlaria (D-Albuquerque). SB 121 No Conversion Therapy disallows counseling to anyone under the age of 18 years of age from receiving therapy for their sexual confusion. The bill would be a violation of licensure law for any therapist who engages in what is call Conversion Therapy or Reparative Therapy.
If a seventeen year old approaches a licensed pastor, psychiatrist or social worker and asks to talk about problems with his or her same-sex attraction, that person could lose their licensure if he or she engaged in that conversation.
Issues presented are the following:
Violation of First Amendment Rights
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of speech. A clinician should be allowed to speak to their patients on any topic the therapist and the patient deem pertinent.
Violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act disallows revelation of therapeutic information to any outside entity. Severe penalties are attached to such a revelation in an attempt to preserve the patient’s privacy.
Violation of Privacy as Found in Supreme Court Decision Roe v Wade
Chief Justice Harry Blackburn in Roe v Wade based his decision to legalize abortion on a “right to privacy.” Privacy between a clinician and a patient is violated by this bill. If a woman can be held harmless in consulting with a physician about an abortion, the same will hold true about a discussion regarding sexuality.
Unnecessary Governmental Intrusion into the Therapeutic Relationship
The law is an unnecessary intrusion into the therapeutic relationship. Other special interests might attempt to secure restrictions in therapeutic relationships.
Victims of Predatory Behavior Discouraged from Seeking Treatment
Under the provisions, this legislation places an unnecessary burden on treatment providers in discussing related issues such as unwanted or predatory behavior on the part of others. A discussion in related areas might result in the clinician placing licensing in jeopardy as the result of a related counseling effort.
Other Specialized Exclusions
The legislation opens the door to other specialized segments of the population that would like to disallow treatment for their area of influence. For example, the cannabis industry might well like to deny and disallow the treatment of cannabis addiction to those under 18 years of age
The legislation places revocation of licensure on a parallel with fraud, mental incompetents, moral turpitude, a felony conviction, illicit use of a controlled substance, gross and willful negligence.
Please contact your Senator and urge them to vote NO against SB 121 No Conversion Therapy.
New Mexico Watchman