Report: Suicide danger increases when states ban counseling

 December 18, 2023

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ignored the need for a ruling on so-called "gay conversation therapy," which is counseling that addresses unwanted same-sex ideologies and encourages people to live as the gender they were born.

There's a conflict among the circuits on the issue, which has been in court for years already. It erupted because LGBT activists over and over have demanded that governments censor the speech of counselors, especially those working with youth, and ban them from encouraging anyone to live as the sex they were born.

On the other hand, counselors are encouraged to promote LGBT lifestyle choices.

The Supreme Court's most recent action was to decline to hear the case of a Washington state counselor who is being censored by the state.

The high court's abandonment of speech rights drew a rebuke from Justice Clarence Thomas, who stated, "A law that restricts speech based on its content or viewpoint is presumptively unconstitutional and may be upheld only if the state can prove that the law is narrowly tailored to serve compelling state interests."

The justices also were rebuked by President Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association.

"That the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear this case is not only disappointing, it’s tragic. We have already seen the First Amendment under assault for employees in corporations, parents at local school board meetings, for students on college and university campuses, and elsewhere.

"Now mental health professionals are being gagged when it comes to offering a different perspective on sexual brokenness. It is becoming increasingly clear that Christians must get involved in the political arena if they are to continue enjoying the constitutional protections we have all taken for granted. But in the meantime, Christians in deep blue states should also realize that staying in places like Washington will mean living in a Marxian nightmare, where those rights are already disappearing before our very eyes."

And now a new report reveals that the "evidence" used to support such content-based speech restrictions is faulty – and that the risk of suicide increases where officials impose such speech limits.

The report from The Federalist stunningly offers evidence directly contradicting the oft-made claim from LGBT activists that such counseling increases the risk of suicide.

The report noted some 26 states impose some level of speech censorship on the issue, "at least partly based on studies claiming 'conversion therapy' increases LGBT Americans' suicide risks."

But the report confirmed, "Yet every existing study that makes this claim is seriously scientifically unsound, several research reviews recently found."

The actual information in one study often used to support the censorship schemes shows the opposite of what its authors claim, the report said.

The problem is simply a failure to adhere to common rules for research.

The Federalist report explained, "Every study published since 2009 on therapy for people struggling with sexual orientation distress used the same major scientific flaw [Ruth Institute researcher Paul] Sullins identified in a 2020 paper, Christopher Rosik, a psychologist at Fresno Pacific University, found in 2022 with a research review. All failed to control for suicidal thoughts and actions LGBT people expressed before they went to 'conversion therapy.'

"The studies claim 'conversion therapy' caused the LGBT study participants to have more suicidal thoughts and attempts, but not one separated the suicidal thoughts and attempts that occurred before starting therapy," the report confirmed, "It’s not only logically impossible but scientifically invalid to say something that came after a first thing caused the first thing. But that’s what every single one of these studies did."

Sullins explained, "The evidence shows that SOCE [sexual orientation change efforts] is fairly effective at preventing suicide attempts."

Yet the manipulated studies' conclusions have been used to ban therapists from helping distressed patients across the country, the report said.

The Federalist reported Sullins reran the numbers obtained by pro-LGBT researchers, with proper controls, and confirmed two-thirds of the LGBT participants' suicidal thoughts and attempts in the 2020 study happened before they went to therapy for help with their sexual orientation.

"That means therapy couldn’t have caused the majority of LGBT people’s suicidal thoughts or attempts because most happened before therapy," the report said.

And, the report said, Sullins confirmed what would be an ordinary logical conclusion, that much-condemned "conversation therapy" actually reduced suicide attempts and intentions by up to 80%.

The report warned, "If therapy does reduce suicidal thoughts and attempts, these talk therapy bans and the Supreme Court’s refusal to end them enable higher levels of distress and self-harm for LGBT Americans."

Sullins reported that in some faulty studies, the decision to "ignore time order in attributing causation" actually was an intentional fraud built into the results.

He confirmed the four most recent studies the American Psychological Association and U.K. Government Equalities Office cited when publicly supporting censorship schemes were built on the same error.

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