House Condemns Rebirthing Therapy

Associated Press/September 17, 2002

Washington -- The House voted Tuesday to condemn a therapeutic technique known as rebirthing as dangerous and harmful and urged every state to enact laws banning it.

"I encourage all states to outlaw this voodoo science and prevent another tragedy from happening,'' said Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., author of the non-binding resolution that passed 397-0.

Rebirthing is a therapy used to treat attachment disorder, where adopted children resist forming loving relationships with their new parents. The children are covered in blankets and pillows meant to simulate the womb and are encouraged to push their way out, or emerge "reborn'' to bond with their adoptive parents.

A 10-year old girl from Myrick's home state of North Carolina suffocated in 2000 during rebirthing treatment in Colorado. Four adults leaned on the girl, who was covered with blankets and pillows, applying several hundred pounds of pressure. Two therapists were sentenced to 16 years each in the death of Candace Newmaker.

Colorado has since banned rebirthing therapy, which is not recognized by major psychology and psychiatry groups.

The resolution said four other children have died from forms of attachment therapy.

The bill is H.Con. Res. 435.

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