‘Conversion therapy ban risks harming kids and parents’: ex-Number 10 adviser

The Government is “rushing” proposed legislation on banning conversion therapy, a former Number 10 insider has warned, in a move which risks doing “a great deal of harm” to children.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, Nikki Da Costa, the former Director of Legislative Affairs at 10 Downing Street, explained that a ban could prevent children struggling with their gender identity – particularly those who may have autism – from receiving appropriate help.

She stressed the importance of spending time getting legislation right so as not to draft a vague law which criminalises parents or clinicians who are trying to help confused young people deal with their issues.

Parents accused

Asked by presenter Evan Davis to outline a reasonable situation which could become illegal under the proposals, Da Costa gave the example of a teenager who is “absolutely adamant” that they are transgender.

when people are nervous about further scrutiny, you have to ask the question ‘What are you afraid of that will come to light?’

She highlighted that loving parents would want their child to “slow down”, knowing they could end up going down “a medicalised pathway'”.

“The law that is envisaged will say that if your intent was to change somebody to or from being trans, then you could see a situation where certain accusations might be levelled at those individuals, whether they are parents or clinicians, to say that they were actually engaging in conversion therapy.

“That they were getting in the way of this person being able to express their gender identity. And I think that’s very worrying.”

Rush job

The former Downing Street aide accused the Government of “really rushing this legislation”, before adding: “and that rushing is likely to mean that you get it wrong.”

Davis questioned if Da Costa was simply in favour of “kicking the can down the road”. She responded: “When somebody says ‘I object to pre-legislative scrutiny’ – which is when a committee of MPs and peers look at something, they call evidence – when people are nervous about further scrutiny, you have to ask the question ‘What are you afraid of that will come to light?'”

The alternative to proper scrutiny, she warned, was a law drafted so vaguely that someone becomes a “guinea pig” to test the law even though they “could be completely innocent and may be exonerated at the end”.

More on Conversion Therapy:

Tory MPs fear ‘rushed’ conversion therapy ban puts parents and teachers at risk

Stop ‘blindly affirming’ gender-confused children, trans professionals advise

Christian teachers: ‘Conversion therapy proposals will harm children’

Al Mohler: Rising spectre of ‘conversion therapy’ bans threatens Gospel freedom

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