Cass: ‘Scots conversion practices law fraught with difficulties for clinicians’

Attempts to ban so-called conversion practices in Scotland could leave clinicians fearful of prosecution, MSPs have been warned.

Speaking to Holyrood’s Health Committee, top paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass said Scottish Government plans to outlaw ‘practices’ that seek to change, suppress or inhibit someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity put clinicians “in a difficult position”.

Dr Cass told MSPs she believed gender-confused children and young people in Scotland would benefit from a clinical approach that does not push them into puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.


Labour MSP Carol Mochan asked Dr Cass how a ‘conversion therapy’ ban might affect clinicians who shunned the gender-affirmative model and sought to give children “protected time to consider things”.

The experienced physician responded: “That is a big challenge. All that I can say is that I am glad that I am a doctor and not a litigator, because it is a really difficult problem.”

“The anxiety that they might become the test case for that is making clinicians even more anxious about working in this area”.

‘Anti-science ideology’

In a motion brought before Holyrood at the beginning of May, the Scottish Government was urged to adopt the findings of the Cass Report.

During the debate, Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser hailed the work of Dr Cass as “a welcome step” towards changing perspectives “on the treatment of young people with gender issues”.

Fraser said parliamentarians “should not be permitting the mutilation of young bodies in the name of an anti-science ideology”, and that all in Holyrood who had “allowed this abuse to occur in furtherance of a toxic ideology” should be ashamed of their conduct.

Last month, NHS Scotland’s gender identity clinic announced that it had paused the prescription of puberty-blocking and cross-sex hormones to new patients.

Also see:


Scot Govt wants to steamroll through conversion practices law

Church leaders urge PM to denounce ‘conversion practices’ plans that criminalise Christians

Psychotherapy regulator quits ‘coalition against conversion therapy’

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