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AMA and AAP weigh in on disinformation 1st Amendment SCOTUS case Murthy v Missouri

Abigail Nobel
Member Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 484
Topic starter  

In this MedPage Opinion piece, the American Medical Association and American Academy of Pediatrics weight in on Murthy v. Missouri, the First Amendment case now before the US Supreme Court.

They present a truly stunning array of factual errors, biased opinions, and unsubstantiated claims.

One is tempted to take them up on the science, or the politics, or the philosophy of "First do no harm," but underlying it all - we should always remember why the First Amendment is indeed First.

Medical Misinfo Runs Rampant Online. The Gov't Must Retain the Right to Intervene.

— Combating vaccine falsehoods and other inaccurate claims protects public health

Hoffman is president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Ehrenfeld is president of the American Medical Association.

Online misinformation about vaccines harm patients, undermines trust in science, and places additional burdens on our healthcare system through reduced vaccine uptake. All in all, it is a barrier to protecting public health.

As physicians, we see the damages caused by vaccine misinformation firsthand, and we welcome conversations with our patients about vaccine safety and efficacy. However, the widespread proliferation of misinformation and disinformation has triggered higher levels of vaccine hesitancy and refusal, allowing a resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles that we had nearly eradicated.

Preventing the spread of vaccine misinformation without infringing on free speech protections in the First Amendment is a thorny legal issue that is at the heart of a landmark case now before the U.S. Supreme Court, Murthy et al. v. Missouri et al. The nation's leading healthcare organizations, including ours (the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association) and others -- and the hundreds of thousands of physicians across the country who we represent -- believe that vaccine misinformation poses a grave threat to public health. As outlined in an amicus brief we filed in this case, we seek to partner with the federal government to advance factual information.

In Murthy v. Missouri, plaintiffs including the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana argue that several federal agencies and the Biden administration engaged in censorship during the pandemic by urging private social media companies to stop the spread of discredited medical falsehoods from their platforms to save lives. Oral arguments took place last week, and a ruling is expected this summer.

At stake in this case is what tools the government and public health agencies have at their disposal to combat medical misinformation. Without getting into the legal arguments on both sides, one thing is clear: to strip away government power to raise the alarm about patently false information on life-saving vaccines -- when illness and lives hang in the balance -- would be a devastating outcome.

Vaccines have long been one of the safest and most powerful tools in protecting public health. Vaccines save lives by not only protecting vaccinated individuals against infection and reducing the burden of unnecessary hospitalization on our healthcare system, but also by helping prevent the spread of disease.

Medical misinformation that promotes non-scientifically validated remedies can and often does result in harm. Both the FDA and CDC warned of serious adverse effects from people taking ivermectin, an anti-parasitic, to prevent or treat COVID-19, even after numerous studies showed it was entirely ineffective against the virus.

Similarly, one recent study estimated that nearly 17,000 deaths occurred across six nations during the first COVID wave after people took hydroxychloroquine, an antimalaria agent that was wrongly promoted to treat and prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection. Although that was a time of crisis, drug repurposing with low-level evidence can be extremely hazardous and even deadly.

Stopping the spread of medical misinformation is an enormous task, and we cannot expect any single entity to accomplish this challenge. Those of us who have taken an oath to protect the health and well-being of patients share the responsibility to separate fact from fiction.

Anything less than a comprehensive effort to prevent the dissemination of medical misinformation -- using the powers of the federal government, public health agencies, healthcare organizations, social media companies and media outlets, and even individual physicians -- abdicates our responsibility and needlessly puts the health of our communities, and our nation, at risk.

Here's my opinion:

These two organizations in their use of the word "American," prove yet again that they have no idea of its meaning. 

Abigail Nobel
Member Admin
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 484
Topic starter  

Over a month earlier, AAPS took the opposite side of the argument.

For those with long memories, AAPS took down Hilary-Care before it had a chance to become law. In effect, we got another generation of relatively free environment of healthcare - or at least a less oppressive system than it would have given us.

Includes links to its amicus brief.

AAPS Files Amicus Brief Against Biden Administration’s Censorship

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) has filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in opposition to the censorship imposed by the Biden Administration by pressuring social media to take down postings critical of Covid vaccination. Set for oral argument on Monday, March 18, this is one of the biggest cases before the Supreme Court this term.


Our national motto is not “In Vaccines We Trust,” or even “In Government We Trust,” AAPS states. “The right to criticize vaccines and government mandates of vaccines should not be abridged as brazenly sought” by the Biden Administration and its allies.

The AAPS amicus brief explains that “vaccine hesitancy” is not a psychological condition, as proponents of censorship pretend, “but rather is justified self-defense against a government that abuses its power by imposing vaccine mandates.”

Citing many historical examples of vaccine failures, this brief points out that the “right to criticize a vaccine is essential especially when government flagrantly ignores safety issues,” as the Biden Administration has concerning Covid vaccines.

 “The Surgeon General of Florida, our third largest state, cannot obtain answers from the Biden Administration about safety concerns with Covid vaccines,” states Andrew Schlafly as General Counsel of AAPS. “Instead of censoring issues raised about the Covid vaccines on social media, the Biden Administration officials should be providing answers to the questions raised,” he added.

The AAPS brief is particularly critical of an amicus brief filed by the AMA and other groups supportive of Biden’s vaccination policies. “If adopted, the AMA Amici’s arguments would green-light government censorship of the presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., whose motion to intervene in this case to protect his First Amendment rights was denied by this Court,” AAPS’s brief points out.

“When the federal government tells social media platforms to take action against postings, then our basic free speech rights are gravely endangered,” Mr. Schlafly observes.

This case is captioned Murthy v. Missouri (U.S. Sup. Ct. 23-411). Founded in 1943, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons is a pro-patient association of physicians in the practice of private medicine. Its motto means “all for the patient.”

Link to amicus brief PDF:



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