A bill that would ban so-called "reparative therapy"- therapy intended to "convert" gay men and women to be heterosexual- is headed to the New Jersey Senate floor. The ban would apply to children under 18. It already passed in the state Senate's Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on a 7 to 1 vote in March.
The legislation emerges from a late 2012 lawsuit against the organization Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing, which aims in part to assist gay Jewish men in obtaining so-called "reparative therapy." The four plaintiffs in the case cite being asked to perform humiliating exercises as part of therapy, for example exposing their genitals to a counselor. The lawsuit and the testimony of many other gay and transgender individuals suggests that such "reparative therapy" is harmful to psychological well-being. A former advocate of the practice, Dr. Robert Spitzer, reversed his position in May 2012. He issued an apology to the LGBT community and renounced such practices as "a waste of time and energy."
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's position on this issue is unknown. According to the New York Times, Christie "does not believe in conversion therapy," but is also "hesitant to sign a bill that effectively tells parents what they can and can't do."
Media Resources: Sources: Asbury Park press 3/31/2013; Jezebel 3/31/2013; New York Times 3/22/2013; Jezebel 5/21/2012
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .