Lunacy in state legislations is a phenomenon we have covered before, and no: It’s not limited to wingnuts. In fact, the nutters on the left have in many cases been very successful in their attempts to combat reason, science and rationality, and the Colorado legislature is a horrifying example. Joann Ginal, for instance, has been a member of the Colorado House of Representatives since 2012, and was the sponsor of a 2013 bill that would license naturopaths and thereby provide them with the imprimatur of the state to practice quackery as well as, in practice, legalize a range of naturopathic quackery. Colorado naturopaths had (and other naturopaths have)
been fighting for that for a long time. And yes: They finally got (most of) their wish with Ginal, who apparently has some background in medical research. “I am proud that Colorado has taken the lead in ensuring that well trained naturopathic doctors, appropriately regulated, become a viable health care option for the citizens of our state,” said Ginal, brushing over the matter of what kind of “training” naturopaths actually receive. Meanwhile, Sen. Linda Newell (D-Littleton), the bill’s sponsor in the Senate, asserted that “naturopathic doctors are going to be a key component in health care, saving the state millions of dollars through their focus on disease prevention and natural treatment, such as nutrition, lifestyle counseling and botanical medicine,” which suggests that she does not know what naturopathy actually involves – which would not be surprising since there is often a, shall we say, discrepancy between how naturopathic organizations present themselves to lawmakers and the public, and the stuff they actually do (hint: “Why Vitalism is the New Medicine.” Oh, yes. It’s not only prescientific vitalism; it is vitalism and they’re proud of it), but that doesn’t make Newell any less of a loon for sponsoring the bill.
You can read the details of the bill here. Yes, you will find the “complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is popular” gambit and, interestingly, it uses a 2007 survey by Barnes et al. to estimate that 1.5 million Coloradans “currently receive a substantial volume of health care services” from CAM practitioners, a conclusion contradicted by that survey. Also, “what’s the harm?”.
“But isn’t it at least good that the practice is finally regulated?” some might ask. Yeah, right.
Diagnosis: Yes, it’s as bad and possibly worse than the creationist bills, Ginal and Newell have proved themselves to be promoters of dangerous pseudoscience. Exasperating.