Bioethics Blogs

APHA Ethics Section Interview with Dr. Celia B. Fisher on Conversion Therapy Report

The following is an interview with the American Public Health Association’s Ethics Section with Fordham University Center for Ethics Education Director Dr. Celia B. Fisher who served as an advisor for a White House panel on conversion therapy.

In April of this year, President Barack Obama announced his support for state efforts to pass Leelah’s laws. Such laws seek to ban conversion therapy, a practice which claims to change individuals with LGBTQ identities to a heterosexual identity and is named for an American transgender girl who committed suicide after undergoing conversion therapy. Celia B. Fisher is the Marie Ward Doty University Chair in Ethics and Director of the Center for Ethics Education at Fordham University and an Ethics Section member. She served as an advisor for a White House report released last fall, Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth.

She joins us this month for a Q & A, sharing her insights into one area of contemporary public health ethics in practice:

Q: What are the highlights Ethics Section members should know about the report Ending Conversion Therapy?

A: The report was commissioned by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) with the assistance of the American Psychological Association (APA) under the auspices of White House interest. The goal of the SAMHSA-APA committee was to investigate the empirical case supporting, and not supporting, the use of conversion therapy. And so, a committee was brought together, the majority of members were researchers in the field of child development, pediatric physicians and mental health practitioners, or those who study gender identity formation.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.