Germany will ban “conversion therapy” for minors, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman told reporters Wednesday.
The controversial practice, which attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation, will no longer be allowed because of its lack of scientific basis and ability to cause psychological harm, spokesman Steffen Seibert said, according to The Associated Press.
Germany will also outlaw conversion therapy for adults with diminished decisionmaking abilities and bar advertisements for the services, Seibert added.
“The government’s goal is to protect people’s right to sexual self-determination,” he said, according to the AP.
A German government Facebook post, titled “Homosexuality is not an illness,” says violators could face fines or prison time.
The post added that putting adults in conversion therapy based on “subterfuge, erroneous information, pressure or threats” would also be prohibited.
A global LGBTQ advocacy group called OutRight Action International said in a report that four countries outlaw conversion therapy worldwide: Malta, Ecuador, Brazil and Taiwan. Cyprus, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Switzerland have partial bans, according to the AP. Several states and Puerto Rico have also prohibited the practice.