The two political/legal battles we need to be fighting are:
- The right of the people to choose their own health care (be it chiropractic, midwifery, craniosacral therapy, a naturopath, homeopathic, or an allopathic MD)
- The right of practitioners to offer and practice their skills without threat of arrest for “practicing medicine.”
I will weave a discussion of these two points in with further examination of licensure flaws.
Licensing works on the presumption that the state is trying to serve the public by protecting them from harmful practitioners through licensing.
But what really happens, and what has happened to the American public, is that the state suppresses their choices. The state suppresses your choices.
I will give you one example of this: We all know there is “no cure” for Hepatitis C.
But did you know that this is only true in the allopathic system of medicine? The statement should read: “Allopathic medicine has no cure for Hepatitis C.”
Did you know that there actually are cures for Hep C? It’s just that you are being stopped from knowing about them and having access to them. Why? Because the allopathic system (the American Medical Association) “owns,” by law, the right to “practice medicine,” and they don’t offer the cures. And they want you to have knowledge about and access to only their pitiful drug options.
So … Has the state protected you through the licensing system? … Or have they killed you?
Are the licensing laws working to protect you? Or are they harming you by suppressing other practitioners’ freedom to practice certain health arts and your right to freely choose them without fear of your practitioner being arrested and charged for helping you?
This is not just about midwifery. It encompasses midwifery, especially the true, non-allopathic-based practice of midwifery.
“If the midwifery movement is lured by the apparent short term benefits of licensing, it will, in the long run, sacrifice its independence, its identity, an creativity, and people’s freedom of choice” (Solares, Compulsory Hospitalization, vol. 2, p. 400)
In the late 1800s, [Dr. Benjamin] Rush’s fears came true when the exclusive licensing of one system of healing—allopathy—established State Medicine. … State control in either religion or medicine leads to intolerable abuses of our basic human rights. It is a fundamental human right to make decisions about what is right for your body and soul, and to be free from the interference of self-interested, competitive groups, especially in religion and its historical cousin, the healing arts. (Solares, p. 403)
So, our goals ought to be (Solares, 403-404):
- “A constitutional amendment extending the Bill of Rights to include ‘freedom of choice in health care.’” “… the government has no business licensing any kind of healing art.”
- Rewriting practice of medicine laws—i.e., narrowing down the legal definition of “practice of medicine”
Let’s talk about the legal definition of “practice of medicine.”
Solares cites an early medical practice act (MPA) definition of “medical practice” to be people who use drugs, performed surgery, or claimed to be doctors. … Great.
Today? Here’s a more current definition Solares cites; Medical practice is [emphases by this blog’s author]
Any person who practices … any system or mode of treating the sick or afflicted, or who diagnoses, treats, operates for, or prescribes for any ailment, blemish, deformity, disease, disfigurement, disorder, injury or other mental or physical condition [includes pregnancy in most/many states] of any person…
I thought of this definition of practicing medicine as I put olive oil drops in my daughter’s earaching ear. It’s truly a strangle-hold on your freedom and mine. And if I call an experienced mom, or even my sister, and ask about my daughter’s symptoms and possible treatments, she could be arrested for answering my questions? For diagnosing, treating … ??? Hello????
Solares points out: “Consequently almost any act relating to health or pathology could be interpreted as violating the medical practice act. More particularly, there is a substantial danger that any movement or method which challenges orthodox standards will be selectively suppressed” (p. 404) … Remember what I said about Hep C cures? … Selectively suppressed.
So stop and think. See what is happening already as midwifery becomes licensed. What have they given up? Compromised? “Selectively suppressed”? In order to practice legally?
It’s disgraceful. As a mom, if I used a licensed midwife, my health care options are limited to the midwife’s licensure laws. It has very little to do with my personal health and well-being. Her hopefully skillful hands are tied when she ought to be free to practice her art to my benefit.
Is this really the system we want midwifery crushed and deformed into? Over time, that’s what will happen. It’s what is already happening.
So to recap: One of our battles that Solares spells out is that we need to write laws that redefine “medical practice” as being limited to allopathic practice (i.e., using drugs and surgery to treat pathology, calling oneself a medical doctor).
So there’s one good, political battle for you to invest your time, energy, reputation into. A much better battle than mandatory licensure, for sure.
And second, don’t forget that Bill of Rights amendment—freedom of choice in health care.
You see? They go together. In order for us to have freedom of choice, practitioners must have freedom to practice without fear of arrest for breaking “practice of medicine” laws.
And yes, protect consumers through fraud and criminal assault laws, but don’t limit their choices by mandatory licensure.
🙂 More, more, more to come!