Thursday, August 7, 2014

Remember when your doctor's communication with you was privileged?

Remember when cell phones were the size of bricks and were called "cell phones?"

In the wake of the Newtown CT school shooting in late 2012 (yes, it has been that long; you could be forgiven for losing track because of all the changes that haven't happened), this blog adopted the p3 motto: May the First Amendment always triumph over the Second.

And this is one of its corrolaries: If the only way your ideas can get any traction is by shutting down public discussion of any alternative, then your ideas probably aren't very good in the first place.

It hasn't been a great year for the motto. Most recently there was this:

Several years ago, the American Medical Association advised doctors to ask their patients about firearms and “educate patients to the dangers of firearms to children” in the name of public health. But doctors in Florida may be suppressed from giving this medical advice, now that a federal appeals court upheld a Florida law that became known as the “physician gag rule” because it punishes doctors for talking about guns.

The ruling could have major implications as policymakers examine gun violence as a public health issue. The National Rifle Association-backed law it upheld imposes severe limits on when doctors can ask their patients about guns or keep records in their patients’ charts about firearm safety. Doctors who are found to have violated the provision risk sanctions or loss of their license.

(Have you noticed that, when something like this happens, you just naturally assume it's either Arizona or Florida? But I digress)

The public health consequences of this gag order on physicians are obvious. Asking about guns in the home is surely as relevant to child safety as asking if there's a safety latch on the cabinet under the sink where the rat poison and bleach are.

Guns and reproductive health: two things that right-wingers don't want doctors talking about. And yet, when it comes to little Johnnies packing on the sidewalk, suddenly they're all about the importance of free and open exchange of ideas. Go figure.

Tbogg has unearthed the logic behind the many right-wing responses to child gun deaths that take the form, again and again, of opposing any restrictions (or even public information) on guns:
There is only one 2nd Amendment, but you can always have another kid.
It's a variant of the Kaspar Gutman principle.

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