(NaturalNews) Freedom of speech, which includes the right to freely share information with others without interference or threat from the state, is one of the most fundamental tenets of American civil society. But this foundational and constitutionally-protected principle is under attack in a growing number of states where state licensing boards are increasingly trying to restrict freedom of health speech and limit it only to those who first receive permission from the government to give it.
One of the first major incidents of this in recent years involves the North Carolina Board of Dietetics / Nutrition (NCBDN), which, in 2012, decided to go after health blogger Steve Cooksey for posting information online about how he cured himself of diabetes through diet. The medical establishment in North Carolina, which is among the most restrictive and domineering in the nation, actually threatened to file a lawsuit against Cooksey in an attempt to shut him up.
Cooksey later filed a complaint in district court against NCBDN for violating his First Amendment rights, which was ultimately dismissed on the grounds that Cooksey allegedly did not suffer an actual or imminent injury-in-fact. But Cooksey appealed this ruling, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently decided that his case does, indeed, have merit and can move forward, which is a major win for health freedom.
But, unfortunately, Cooksey is not the only one being harassed by state licensing boards for speaking his mind. Licensed family physician John Rosemond recently received a cease-and-desist letter from the Kentucky Attorney General's office for an article he wrote that was published in a local Lexington-based newspaper. Since Rosemond is licensed to practice in North Carolina rather than Kentucky, the state's Board of Examiners of Psychology (BEP) is of the opinion that his newspaper advice column somehow violates the law.
Some licensing board targets have successfully defended their rights, but others have lost their careers
Like with Cooksey, word quickly got out about the board's egregious actions after Rosemond filed a First Amendment lawsuit against it for attempting to trample his free speech rights. The public was incensed, prompting BEP to backpedal and launch its own damage control efforts in an attempt to save face. But the truth had already come out -- BEP was clearly more concerned with protecting its own monopoly than with protecting the free speech rights of one of its own from another state.
And all the way across the country in Washington state, the so-called Medical Quality Assurance Commission (MQAC) has launched its own attack on free speech by targeting integrative physician Dr. Jonathan Wright, M.D. According to recent reports, this board went after Dr. Wright, who just so happens to embrace nutrition-based healing and other unconventional treatment protocols, by falsely claiming that he was "aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of medicine." Dr. Wright ultimately lost his license based on these false charges, and is now being ordered to write a paper on the importance of proper licensure.
"As state-sanctioned licensing boards continue to proliferate, the trend of limiting free speech is increasing -- almost without exception as a tool for the board to protect the professional turf of licensed practitioners," explains The Alliance for Natural Health USA (ANH-USA). "In the 1950s, only one in twenty U.S. workers needed government permission -- for that is what licensure is -- to pursue their chosen occupation. Today, it is closer to one in three."
Be sure to read ANH-USA's full report on the licensure scam and how it threatens to eliminate freedom of health speech: http://www.anh-usa.org
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