Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he will sign the Protection of Medical Conscience Act as soon as it hits his desk. The law will give protections to medical professionals who wish to either prescribe alternative treatments or choose not to prescribe or use a certain treatment based on their "moral, ethical or religious convictions."
DeSantis says he supports the law "One hundred percent".
WATCH! Governor Ron DeSantis says he will sign the Protection of Medical Conscience Act which will protect doctors like @JohnLittellMD from retribution for not bowing to the CDC.
“I want to be a haven for physicians who put the evidence above what some medical society said.” pic.twitter.com/1S257i1hPX
— Chris Nelson 🇺🇸 🏝 (@ReOpenChris) May 3, 2023
DeSantis called the law "Anti-California".
"California law says if you dissent from orthodoxy, if you dissent from Fauci you could have your license revoked. The reality is it has been the dissenters who have been right about Covid since its inception and the way you do science is not to follow the crowd, but to follow the evidence," said DeSantis.
DeSantis says he hopes the bill will make Florida a safe haven where free speech is protected for doctors.
"I want to be a haven for physicians who put the evidence above what some medical society said," said DeSantis.
The bill provides recourse for doctors who have been punished by medical boards for speaking in favor of alternative treatments to politicized viruses like Covid-19. John Littell, a Florida family physician for over 30 years, had his board certification revoked for "Covid-19 misinformation" for speaking in favor of Ivermectin as a treatment.
Littell says he successfully treated hundreds of Covid patients with the inexpensive drug, but the American Board of Family Medicine, headquartered in Tennessee, pulled his certification for speaking out about it.
"I got disciplined for giving Ivermectin which got a young mom out of the hospital in three days when she would have died," said Dr Littell speaking outside a meeting of the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Board.
The bill, introduced by Representative Joel Rudman, who is also a doctor, will protect the free speech of doctors like Littell.
The bill reads:
"A board, or the department if there is no board, may not take disciplinary action against a health care practitioner’s license or deny a license to an individual solely because the individual has spoken or written publicly about a health care service or public policy, including, but not limited to, speech through the use of a social media platform as defined, provided that the individual is not using such speech or written communication to provide medical advice or treatment to a specific patient or patients, and provided that such speech or written communication does not separately violate any other applicable law or rule."
If a board does take punitive action against a doctor for reasons laid out in this bill, "the board within the jurisdiction of the department may revoke its approval of such specialty board or other recognizing agency."
"Our government in the Covid era tried to tell doctors what was okay to say and what was okay to prescribe," said Rudman on the House floor yesterday. Rudman, who has been practicing medicine for over 25 years, referred to the Hippocratic oath. "Let me tell you what that oath actually says. 'I will use those regimens which will benefit my patients according to my judgement.' Not according to an algorithm, not according to the government, not after consulting with the media or the current trends of the day. My best judgement. That certainly sounds like conscience to me."
“Do we want doctors that are nothing more than shills for Big Pharma taking orders from CFO’s of large hospital corporations parroting the talking points of a particular political ideology?”
Dr. Joel Rudman gives COMPELLING argument for his “Protection of Medical Conscience Act” pic.twitter.com/RQonlrzHEX
— Chris Nelson 🇺🇸 🏝 (@ReOpenChris) May 4, 2023
Rudman said large corporations and Chief Financial Officers try to tell doctors how to practice and what to think.
"Do we want doctors that are nothing more than shills for big Pharma taking orders from chief financial officers of large hospital corporations parroting the talking points of a particular political ideology? Taking requests like a radio station DJ without even giving the first regard to a patient's actual wellbeing?" asked Rudman on the House floor.
House Democrats had a spasm on over the bill comparing it to Jim Crow Laws.
"I think this bill is probably one of the most offensive bills to me," Democrat Michelle Rayner said. "Here we are in the free state of Florida codifying a different existence of Jim Crow."
"Jim Crow" refers to laws enacted after the Civil War mandating racial segregation. Nothing in this bill would do this and the bill contains anti-discrimination language.
JUST NOW: Democrat Florida Rep Michelle Rayner goes on a rant comparing the Protection of Medical Conscience Act to JIM CROW LAWS!
Your modern Democrat party right here. pic.twitter.com/XoPGNhGmef
— Chris Nelson 🇺🇸 🏝 (@ReOpenChris) May 2, 2023
"Of the five states with this law on the books, three states don't even mention discrimination language. We go further than three of the other states in insuring that no one is going to be discriminated against," said Rudman.
The bill states:
"The exercise of the right of medical conscience is limited to conscience-based objections to a specific health care service. This section may not be construed to waive or modify any duty a health care provider or health care payor may have to provide or pay for other health care services that do not violate their right of medical conscience, to waive or modify any duty to provide any informed consent required by law, or to allow a health care provider or payor to opt out of providing health care services to any patient or potential patient because of that patient’s or potential patient’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin."
Dr. Littell's attorney Jeff Childers has filed an appeal over the revocation of Littell's board certification. Littell got on Twitter to thank Governor DeSantis and the legislature.
"My appeal to ABFM was filed. The legal challenge lies ahead. The Florida legislature and Gov D are defending my right to care for my patients encumbered by the dictates of the FDA, CDC, hospitals, insurers and the likes of Fauci. We have only begun to fight for medical freedom!" Littell tweeted after the bill passed.
My appeal to ABFM was filed.
The legal challenge lies ahead.
The Florida legislature and Gov D are defending my right to care for my patients encumbered by the dictates of the FDA, CDC, hospitals, insurers and the likes of Fauci.
We have only begun to fight for medical freedom!
— John Littell, MD (@JohnLittellMD) May 3, 2023
The bill passed the House yesterday by an 84-34 vote straight down party lines with every Republican voting yes and every Democrat voting no with one abstaining. It will now go to Governor Ron DeSantis's desk where he says he will sign it.