News (USA)

Iowa Senate approves conversion therapy ban for minors; House support unlikely

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa state Senate has passed a bill that would ban mental health providers from practicing therapy aimed at converting the sexual orientation of a minor.

IowaThe Senate voted 26-24 Tuesday along a straight party line. The bill now heads to the GOP-controlled House, where it will likely be declared dead amid strong opposition from Christian conservatives.

The bill would prohibit a licensed mental health provider from offering therapy that attempts to change the sexual orientation of a person under 18 years old.

Sen. Joe Bolkcom, an Iowa City Democrat, says the legislation will protect young people from therapy that has been discredited by several medical groups.

Sen. Julian Garrett, an Indianola Republican, opposed the bill. He says parents and minors should be able to pursue the professional medical care of their choice.

The Iowa bill does not address therapy aimed at gender identity.

A similar bill that includes both sexual orientation and gender identity passed Tuesday in the Oregon state House and now heads to that state’s Senate.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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