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Rhode Island Bans Conversion Therapy: "It Is Nothing Short Of Child Abuse"

It becomes the 10th state to outlaw the discredited practice.

Rhode Island has become the 10th state to ban the discredited and harmful practice of ex-gay conversion therapy on minors.

On Wednesday Governor Gina Raimondo signed a bill introduced by Rep. Edith Ajello (D-Providence) that prohibits licensed health care providers from attempting to change a patients sexual orientation or gender identity. It does not prevent religious leaders or unlicensed individuals from attempting reparative therapy, which has been condemned by most medical organizations. It also doesn't prevent an adult from seeking such treatment.

“No child should be put through the dangerous and inhumane practice of conversion therapy,” said HRC legal director Sarah Warbelow. “Medical professionals agree this outdated and discredited practice not only doesn’t work, but can also have life-threatening consequences. It is nothing short of child abuse."

Rhode Island joins Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, and New Mexico in prohibiting conversion therapy, as well as the District of Columbia. Several other cities and municipalities have enacted similar bans, as well.

Supporters of the bill included the Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital, the Board of Rabbis of Greater Providence, and the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

The ACLU of Rhode Island backed the law, but questioned giving politicians “wide latitude to ban unpopular medical treatments,” which could potentially affect transgender youth hoping to transition.