State Rep. Brian BeGole this week voted against legislation that denies struggling young people the ability to freely speak with licensed mental health professionals.
House Bills 4616-17 focus on a ban on what is commonly referred to as conversion therapy for minors. But the plans go beyond that by cracking down on the content of counseling provided by a mental health professional.
Input that doesn’t amount to simply affirming someone’s desired sexual orientation or gender identity, or their desire to have a medical transition, could amount to conversion therapy under the legislation.
“This is a one-way mandate that doesn’t respect the uniqueness of a patient-care provider relationship and essentially dictates what mental health professionals can and can’t say,” said BeGole, of Antrim Township. “There are surely kids out there who have talked with these professionals and decided for themselves after those conversations that they don’t want to go forward with a change in their life, so I worry about the unintended consequences these bills will create.”
Despite BeGole’s opposition, House Bills 4616-17 were approved by the House along party lines.
“Ultimately, a child’s parents and the care professionals they choose to see are better positioned to make important decisions on their child’s development than Lansing is,” BeGole said. “These bills follow a concerning and radical agenda, not common sense.”
The plans now move to the Senate for consideration.
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