Ethan A. Huff
Alternative health practitioners in North Carolina (NC) and their patients need your help to defeat a stealth bill that flew under the radar of most everyone in the natural health community. Senate Bill 31, which clarifies the penalties for the “unauthorized practice of medicine,” essentially criminalizes the practice of unlicensed forms of medicine, which includes the work of many naturopaths, homeopaths, herbalists, aromatherapists, and even some midwives in the state. The bill was adopted by a judiciary committee in early March, and it recently passed the NC Senate. Now, the NC House is set to vote on the bill tonight, and unless NC governor Bev Perdue vetoes it, the practice of natural medicine for many in NC may soon become a more severe criminal offense.
SB 31 states that anyone who practices medicine or surgery without having been first “licensed and registered to do so” will be guilty of a Class I felony. Class I felonies in NC are the least severe kinds of felonies, but they do include things like burning crosses on private or public property, and sexually exploiting children. So if passed, SB 31 will essentially make those who practice alternative medicine without an official, state-sanctioned license and permit, criminals of the likes of sexual predators and cross burners.
You can read the short bill for yourself at the following link:
Proponents of the bill say it fixes a loophole in the current law that classifies out-of-state practitioners who practice without a license as Class I felons, while in-state practitioners who practice without a license are only guilty of a Class I misdemeanor. But what the bill actually appears to do is make it even harder for alternative practitioners who literally cannot be licensed in NC because their work is not “approved,” to practice at all. After all, who is going to be willing to provide alternative medical services for consenting patients when doing so makes them a felon?
SB 31 is really just another way to target alternative practitioners and reign in the practice of medicine to only that which has been approved by the government overlords. And the timeline for defeating this bill is very short. Alternative practitioners in NC, and those who safely and successfully use their services, need your help now to successfully defeat this bill.
Citizens for Healthcare Freedom (CHF), a nonprofit health freedom organization in NC, says the bill is “not in the interest of the citizens of North Carolina” because it affects many alternative practitioners who will be put out of business if it passes. The vast majority of these practitioners have been practicing for years, and they have helped thousands of patients over the years using methods not officially sanctioned by state medical boards (http://www.ncchf.org/2011/03/29/opposition-to-sb31-action-alert/).
The NC House is set to debate and vote on SB 31 at 7:00 pm tonight. And whether or not you live in NC, this bill contributes to setting a precedent of intolerance for natural and alternative medicine, so it is important to oppose it regardless of whether or not you live in NC.
You can reach the NC House to oppose the bill by calling (919) 733-7928.
You can reach Governor Bev Perdue’s Washington DC office to oppose the bill by calling (202) 624-5833.
Remember, when contacting government officials to express your thoughts, always be respectful, but firm in your discourse. Clearly and succinctly express opposition to SB 31 on the grounds that it further erodes health freedom in NC by criminalizing those who practice alternative medicine. Also, urge support for the CHF Consumer Health Freedom Act, which establishes the freedom to practice alternative medicine without criminal penalty (http://www.ncchf.org/2011/03/29/opposition-to-sb31-action-alert/).
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