Conversion therapy has no place in New Zealand

Conversion therapy has no place in New Zealand, and Government moves to criminalise it are overdue and welcome.

The New Zealand Medical Association says conversion therapy is harmful, degrading and “junk science”.

“We thank Minister Kris Faafoi for putting a stop to this despicable practice,” says NZMA Chair Dr Alistair Humphrey.

“As noted by the World Medical Association, conversion therapies have been rejected by many professional organisations due to a lack of evidence of their effectiveness.They have no medical indication and represent a serious threat to the health and human rights of those so treated.”

If the law is passed, a person could receive a three-year prison sentence for subjecting anyone 18 or younger, or anyone with impaired decision-making, to conversion therapy.

In the case of adults, the practice would be criminalised if it causes “serious harm”. The maximum sentence for causing “serious harm” to a person of any age through conversion therapy would be five years imprisonment.

“Ideally, we would want the law extended to people of all ages, without the “serious harm” standard applied to adults,” Dr Humphrey said.

“However weare pleased to see cross-party support for the Bill – which has our full endorsement.”

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