Chapter 2, Part 4 – 1933 Basic Science Law

Passage 1933 Basic Science Law

Dr. Budden’s commitment to the chiropractic profession was not limited to chiropractic education or the oversight of Western States College. He was intimately involved in professional politics, as evidenced by his actions following the passage of the 1933 Basic Science Law. The new Basic Science Law required practitioners of all branches of the healing arts to successfully pass a basic science examination in anatomy, physiology, pathology, chemistry and public health before obtaining licensure in their respective disciplines.

Immediately after passage of the new law, Dr. Budden proposed an amendment to the Oregon constitution that would allow the licensing board of each discipline to administer the basic science examination, a move designed to protect chiropractors from inappropriate behavior by the allopathic professions. The medical profession voiced its opposition to the proposed amendment. However, the chiropractic profession in Oregon was taken by complete surprise when B.J. Palmer joined forces with the medical profession to defeat the amendment.

Dr. Budden later wrote of this incident, “Two days before election the state newspapers carried large advertisements advising the people that ‘America’s Leading chiropractor, B.J. Palmer agrees with the entire medical profession of Oregon’ in urging people to vote against the amendment and for the strengthening of medical monopoly.” Dr. Budden took the defeat in stride, but B.J.’s actions didn’t improve the distaste Dr. Budden was developing for him. B.J. had already referred to Western States as “…the sinkhole of mixing.” B.J.’s interference in Oregon chiropractic politics contributed significantly to a growing schism within the profession. The degree to which the Basic Science Law contributed to curricular changes is unknown. However, later that same year, WSC raised its graduation requirement to four years of eight months each, for a total of 4,000 hours.