First Amendment Values in Health Care Symposium

Join the Health Law Initiative to explore controversies in health care and public health that implicate the First Amendment and its values with respect to free speech and the free exercise of religion. The symposium will examine issues related to COVID-19—including vaccine mandates, public health regulations, and media reporting on the pandemic—and issues beyond the pandemic, including accessing professional advice and medical information, regulating drug labeling, enforcing conscience clauses, and assessing the impact of the expanding role of religious hospitals in delivering care.

A Zoom link will be provided closer to the event. 


12:30 pm: Welcoming Remarks & Symposium Overview

  • Welcoming Remarks: Dean Dayna Bowen Matthew, Dean and Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School; Dean Lynn R. Goldman, Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University
  • Symposium Overview: Professor Sara Rosenbaum, Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy, Milken Institute School of Public Health; Professor of Law (By Courtesy), George Washington University Law School

1 pm: Panel 1 – Speech Within and Without the Doctor-Patient Relationship

  • Sonia M. SuterThe Kahan Family Research Professor of Law; Founding Director, Health Law Initiative, GW Law
    • Reproductive Technologies and Free Speech
  • Professor Claudia E. Haupt, Northeastern University School of Law
    • Assuming Access to Professional Advice
  • Catherine J. Ross (moderator), Fred C. Stevenson Research Professor, GW Law

2:15 pm: Panel 2 – Propaganda, Omission, and Falsehoods in Public Statements about Medicine

  • Lars Noah, Levin College of Law, University of Florida
    • Objecting to Propaganda in Therapeutic Product Labeling as Compelled Commercial Speech
  • William Sage, University of Texas School of Law
    • Media Medicine: Addressing Omissions and Falsehoods in COVID-19 Reporting
  • Dawn C. Nunziato (moderator), William Wallace Kirkpatrick Research Professor, GW Law

3:30 pm: Panel 3 – Conscience Clauses, Religious Hospitals, and Religion Clause Values

  • Radhika Rao, UC Hastings Law
    • Conscience, Complicity, and the Elusive Ideal of Neutrality
  • Liz Sepper, University of Texas School of Law; James Nelson, University of Houston Law Center
    • Disestablishing Religious Hospitals
  • Ira C. Lupu (moderator), F. Elwood and Eleanor Davis Professor Emeritus of Law, GW Law

4:45 pm: Panel 4 – Free Exercise Clause and COVID

  • Dorit Reiss, UC Hastings Law
    • Vaccines Mandates and Religion: Where are we Headed with the Current Supreme Court?
  • Wendy Parmet, Northeastern University School of Law
    • Free Exercise and Public Health: The Impact of COVID-19
  • Robert W. Tuttle (moderator), David R. and Sherry Kirschner Berz Research Professor of Law and Religion

Media Contact

Kara Tershel, [email protected]