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NC Bill Threatens to Criminalize Naturopaths, Homeopaths, Herbalists, Midwives, Aromatherapists as Felons

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Politics and Democracy page, Health Issues page, and our North Carolina News page.

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: http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2011/...

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?



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