Right to Try Posted on August 4, 2017 | Op-Ed

Goldwater Week in Review: Liberty spreads like wildfire

It’s been an incredible movement toward liberty. One by one, 37 states across the country enacted Right to Try laws, standing up for the proposition that terminally ill patients have a fundamental right to try to save their lives. And on Thursday, the U.S. Senate followed the states’ lead, passing a federal version of Right to Try by unanimous consent.

Under the federal law, those suffering from terminal illnesses can gain access to medication still being tested in clinical trials, while offering protection to doctors and pharmaceutical companies who come to patients’ aid. In other words, it’s a lifeline of new hope for patients who desperately need it. Now it’s up to the U.S. House of Representatives to act on the legislation.

Vice President Mike Pence expressed his strong support for the policy, tweeting, “Right to Try is about giving terminally ill patients hope & a chance. Proud of @POTUS' & @SenRonJohnson's work to help pass it in Senate.” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who wrote the bill, said, “Patients with terminal diseases ought to have a right to access treatments that have demonstrated a level of safety and could potentially save their lives,” as reported in The Washington Post. In addition, dozens of newspapers have endorsed Right to Try, including USA Today and Wall Street Journal, and 18 patient advocacy groups endorsed Right to Try in a letter to Senators.

The Goldwater Institute drafted the model legislation for Right to Try, and it has advocated for its passage across the country. “There’s no more fundamental freedom than the right to save your own life,” said Victor Riches, President & CEO of the Goldwater Institute. “Right to Try guarantees that freedom by ensuring that patients, along with their doctors, are in control of the treatments they receive when facing a terminal diagnosis. Right to Try will open new paths to treatments for many patients who are currently out of options.”

Right to Try, though, isn’t the only example of states taking a stand in defense of individual liberty. This week, North Carolina became the latest state to enact a law directing its public universities to protect free speech on their campuses. The North Carolina legislature overwhelmingly approved the Restore Campus Free Speech Act to create a culture of openness at the 17 colleges and universities in the University of North Carolina system. 

North Carolina is one of the first states to take action restoring campus free speech while drawing heavily on model legislation that the Goldwater Institute unveiled earlier this year. We developed this proposal with National Review’s Stanley Kurtz, who wrote about North Carolina’s new law

In both Right to Try and campus free speech, our individual liberties are on the line. And in both cases, the Goldwater Institute is taking the lead to fan the flames of liberty. We are working state by state to defend and strengthen the freedom guaranteed to all Americans.

Goldwater in the News this Week


Mike Brownfield is Director of Communications for the Goldwater Institute where he leads the development and execution of the Institute’s public relations and communications strategy. For more than ten years, ... Read

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