Michelle A. Cretella

Shouldn’t same-sex oriented teens be given a chance to change?

Michelle A. Cretella
By Michelle Cretella
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February 14, 2014 (MercatorNet) - In 2013 California and New Jersey passed laws that ban licensed mental health providers from offering sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) to minors. Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Minnesota and Maryland are considering similar legislation. Recently, however, this legislation died in the Virginia House, and a stay was imposed in California pending review by the Supreme Court of the United States.

To be clear, the present debate concerns banning voluntary (not coerced) SOCE by professionals for minors who are distressed by their unwanted homosexual feelings. Support for this ban is based upon four claims. First, that sexual orientation is a fixed, inborn trait. Secondly, that homosexual attractions experienced during adolescence are enduring. Thirdly, that homosexual behavior carries no increased health risks as compared to heterosexual behavior, and finally, that scientific research proves SOCE is universally harmful. None of these claims, however, is based in science.

Homosexuality is not innate

Identical twins share exactly the same genetic makeup and are exposed to the same pre-natal hormones. If homosexuality were genetic like race or determined by pre-natal hormones alone, then identical twins would have the same sexual orientation 100 percent of the time. Instead, at most, identical twins are both homosexual only 20 percent of the time.[1] Dr. Francis Collins, former director of the Human Genome Project, summed it up best when he wrote sexual orientation "is not hardwired by DNA, and whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predetermination."[2]

The American Psychological Association acknowledges that "[s]ome people believe that sexual orientation is innate and fixed; however, sexual orientation develops across a person’s lifetime."[3] The psychodynamic and social learning theories of homosexuality have never been disproven. There is good evidence that parental and social influences, including childhood trauma, can contribute to SSA for some.[4],[5] These adolescents have the right to therapy for their trauma, they do not deserve the added trauma of being legislated into a false sexual identity.

During adolescence homosexual attractions are more fluid than fixed

Adolescence is well recognized for its sexual fluidity and instability of homosexual attractions. In 2007, Savin-Williams and Ream conducted a large longitudinal study that documented changes in attraction so great between the ages of 16 and 17 that they questioned whether the concept of sexual orientation had any meaning for adolescents with homosexual attractions. Seventy-five percent of adolescents who had some initial homosexual attraction between the ages of 17-21 changed to experience heterosexual attraction only.[6] This is in stark contrast to the stability they found among adolescents experiencing heterosexual attractions. Among these adolescents, fully 98 percent retained their heterosexual-only attractions into adulthood.[7] Another study demonstrating significant change away from homosexual attractions in adolescence involved 13,840 youth. Of those initially "unsure" of their sexual orientation, 66 percent became exclusively heterosexual.[8]

No studies have examined the success rates of SOCE among adolescents. Logically, however, if such high rates of change in homosexual attraction occur adventitiously, many adolescents who desire therapeutic assistance should succeed.

Homo/bi-sexual behavior carries grave health risks

There are many reasons for adolescents, especially males, who are distressed by unwanted homosexual attractions to seek therapy. According to the CDC, from 2006-2009, young men who have sex with men aged 13-24 years had the greatest percentage increase in diagnosed HIV infections of all age groups.[9] Among all adolescent males aged 13-24 years, approximately 91 percent of all diagnosed HIV infections were from male-to-male sexual contact.[10] This is because receptive anal intercourse is 20 times more risky than receptive vaginal intercourse.[11]

Moreover, compared with heterosexual youth, non-heterosexual youth are at increased risk (by a median of 76 percent if bisexual; 63.8 percent if homosexual) for contracting other sexually transmitted infections, using tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, and engaging in behaviors that contribute to violence, depression and suicide.[12]

No scientific proof of harm from therapeutically assisted SOCE

No therapy is free from harm. Regarding all forms of psychotherapy for any given condition a surprisingly high 14-24 percent of children deteriorate during psychotherapy.[13] There is not one study demonstrating that SOCE causes harm greater than or even equal to this baseline level.[14] The research cited as "proving" universal harm from SOCE is a 2002 study by Shidlo and Schroeder even though the authors themselves never made such a claim. Instead, they stated: "[This study does] not provide information on the incidence and prevalence of failure, success, harm, help or ethical violations in conversion therapy [i.e., SOCE]."[15] However, there are a number of surveys of individuals who have experienced positive outcomes from SOCE.[16],[17],[18],[19]

Conclusion

Anti-SOCE claims have no basis in science. Therefore, the American College of Pediatricians and the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality insist that adolescents retain their right to choose SOCE with full informed consent under the care of experts in the field.

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Michelle Cretella MD is the Vice-President of the American College of Pediatricians and chairs the College’s Committee on Adolescent Sexuality. She is also a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics. For a fully referenced version of this article visit the American College of Pediatricians website.

Notes

[1] Collins, F. The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. New York. Free Press. 2007 (p.260).

[2] Ibid. p.263.

[3] American Psychological Association fact sheet available from:  http://www.psychiatry.org/mental-health/people/lgbt-sexual-orientation [accessed February 13, 2014].

[4] Roberts AL., Glymour MM., Koenen KC. "Does maltreatment in childhood affect sexual orientation in adulthood?"  Arch Sex Behav. 2013 Feb;42(2):161-71. doi: 10.1007/s10508-012-0021-9. Epub 2012 Sep 14.

[5] Alanko, K., Santitila, P., Sato, B., Jem, P., Johansson, A., et al. (2011). Testing causal models of the relationship betwen childhood gender atypical behavior and parent-child relationship. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 29, 214-233. doi: 10.1348/2044-835X.002004

[6] Savin-Williams, RC and Ream, GL (2007), "Prevalence and Stability of Sexual Orientation Components During Adolescence and Young Adulthood," Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36, 385-394.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ott, MQ, Corliss, HL, et. al. (2011), "Stability and Change in Self-Reported Sexual Orientation Identity in Young People: Application of Mobility Metrics," Archives of Sexual Behavior, June; 40(30): 519-532. Published online 2010 December 2. doi:  10.1007/s10508-010-9691-3

[9] http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/sexualbehaviors/pdf/hiv_factsheet_ymsm.pdf [accessed February 12, 2014].

[10] Ibid.

[11] Grossman, M. (2009) You're Teaching My Child What? Regnery Publishing, Inc. Washington, DC , p. 87.

[12] Kann, L., Olsen, E., et.al. "Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12 -- Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, Selected Sites, United States, 2001-2009." MMWR/June 6, 2011/Vol. 60

[13] Lambert (2011). "Psychotherapy research and its achievements." In J.C. Norcross, G.R. VandenBos, & D.K. Freedheim (eds.), History of psychotherapy: Continuity and change (2nd ed., pp. 299-332).

[14] Rosik, C. "The (Complete) Lack of a Scientific Basis for Banning Sexual-Orientation Change Efforts with Minors" available from:  http://www.narth.com/#!narth-analysis-of-soce-ban/c1q8f [accessed February 13, 2014].

[15] Shidlo, A., & Schroeder, M. (2002). "Changing sexual orientation: A consumers' report." Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 33(3), 249-259.

[16] Santero, P., Whitehead N., Ballasteros, (2014) "Change Effects in U.S. Men with Unwanted Same-Sex Attraction after Therapy". Psychological Reports (in process; personal communication w/ Dr. Whitehead February 3, 2014).

[17] Karten, EY and Wade, JC (2010). "Sexual Orientation Change Efforts in Men: A Client Perspective." Journal of Men's Studies. 18, 84-102.

[18] Spitzer, R.L. (2003). Can some gay men and lesbians change their sexual orientation? 200 participants reporting a change from homosexual to heterosexual orientation. Oct;32(5):403-17; discussion 419-72.

[19] Nicolosi, J., Byrd, A.D., Potts, R.W. (2000). "Retrospective Self-reports of Changes in Homosexual Orientation: A Consumer Survey of Conversion Therapy Clients." Psychological Reports, 86, 1071-1088.

Reprinted with permission from MercatorNet

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PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received more than $400 million in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

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If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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