The First Amendment and professional-client speech
VOLOKH at law.ucla.edu
Fri Feb 24 19:42:54 PST 2006
I'm inclined to say that the bill discussed below would violate
the First Amendment, even given the likely greater latitude the
government has in regulating professional-client speech. Any sense,
though, of just how much extra latitude has, and what the constitutional
test for such speech restrictions would be?
CHESAPEAKE - A pediatrician who asks a child's parent about firearms in
their home could lose his or her license or be disciplined under
legislation being considered by a Senate committee today.
The bill would prohibit health care professionals from asking a patient
about gun possession, ownership or storage unless the patient is being
treated for an injury related to guns or asks for safety counseling
about them. . . .
For a defense of the bill (which I find inadequate to justify
the bill's constitutionality), see
American Academy of Pediatrics does indeed have an opinion on guns--they
should be banned. Contrary to what Dr. Ellwood says, the AAP does say
guns are a bad thing to have around children. They want pediatricians,
in the privacy of the exam room, to urge parents to get rid of their
guns. A quick check of the American Academy of Pediatrics web site would
have shown the reporter all of this. See the Summary and Recommendations
section of this page, section 1B, about halfway down the page.
"With very few exceptions, a doctor's probing of a patient about
guns in the home is a politically motivated question. That makes it an
ethical boundary violation, which is unprofessional conduct. Doctors are
forbidden to misuse the trust of their patients to advance a political
agenda such as gun control."
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