Thursday, September 21, 2023

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“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.”

— William Wilberforce

California Passes COVID Policy Law Silencing Doctors

doctors wearing masks

A new law in California will punish doctors if they give their patients information related to COVID-19 that does not conform to “contemporary scientific consensus” and can be deemed “misinformation” or “disinformation” by the California Medical Board or California Osteopathic Board.  Assembly Bill 2098 was sponsored by State Senator Richard Pan, a pediatrician, and signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 30, 2022. It is scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2023, and allows doctors to be charged with unprofessional conduct and put on probation of no less than five years or be suspended and lose their medical license.1 2 3 4

The California Medical Board and California Osteopath Board will have the authority to investigate and adjudicate claims that a doctor violated the law.5 If a physician is found to have departed from the government approved “standard of care” policy related to COVID-19,  one of the California medical boards could revoke his or her medical license.6

COVID Standard of Care Policies Have Frequently Changed Over Time

The government, employers, schools, colleges and universities have often changed their policies on masking and COVID vaccinations over the past three years, which demonstrates that the government’s position on COVID-19 facts and policies changes and what is considered “standard of care” may be true one day but not be true the next. Even so, doctors in California who dissent from the government’s official positions on COVID-19 prevention and treatment could lose their career for using their best professional judgement in caring for their patients.7

Highlighting that the bill is another attempt to eliminate the free speech, lawyer Jonathan Turley said:

The problem is they are targeting the very people that we want to feel free to express concerns and doubts. These are the people that we need to be part of the debate, and they are chilling that debate.8

This new law effectively maintains that the current government backed “contemporary scientific consensus” is the only medical advice that a doctor should be allowed to share with their patients about the ever-evolving SARS-CoV-2 virus, whether or not that “scientific consensus” evolves over time or current government policy is considered by a doctor to place a patient at risk because, for example, it is contraindicated by the individual’s medical history.9

Even staunch supporters of the COVID shots and mask-wearing have expressed concern with this new law censoring doctor’s private conversations with and treatment of their patients. Eric Widera, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco warned:

… the standard of care has changed a lot in 2½ years… What was misinformation one day is the current scientific thinking another day.10

Newsom Signs Assembly Bill 2098 Into Law Claiming It is “Narrowly Tailored”

On Sept. 30, Gov. Newsom signed the bill into law stating:

Assembly Bill 2098 provides that the dissemination of misinformation or disinformation related to COVID-19 by physicians and surgeons to a patient under their direct care constitutes unprofessional conduct.11

Gov. Newsom defended his actions claiming that the bill was…

narrowly tailored to apply only to those egregious instances in which a licensee is acting with malicious intent or clearly deviating from the required standard of care while interacting directly with a patient under their care.12

The governor’s opinion is not supported by the language of the bill itself. There is nothing in the bill to suggest that it is “narrowly tailored” and only applies to “those egregious instances in which a licensee is acting with malicious intent” as Gov. Newsom suggests.13

The bill sets forth…

It shall constitute unprofessional conduct for a physician and surgeon to disseminate misinformation or disinformation related to COVID-19, including false or misleading information regarding the nature and risks of the virus, its prevention and treatment; and the development, safety, and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.14

The words “egregious instances” or “malicious intent” cited by Gov. Newsom are not mentioned anywhere in the text of the law. Perhaps that is because it is egregious to assume that a doctor, who shares a professional opinion about what would be in a patient’s best interest based on the individual’s medical history, is doing that with “malicious intent.”

Apparently, the California Medical Board plans to decide on a case-by-case basis what constitutes inappropriate professional behavior that requires punishment after receiving a complaint that a physician has disseminated “misinformation” or “disinformation” related to COVID-19 to a patient.15

According to California Medical Board spokesman Carlos Villatoro, when a complaint is received, the Board…

uses physicians who are experts in their field to review the individual facts and circumstances involved in the situation under investigation, and opine on the appropriate standard of care that should have been followed at that time. No two cases are the same, and the Board would make this determination based on the facts and circumstances of the given case.16

Since decisions will be made by California medical licensing boards based on facts and circumstances at the time of the complaint, doctors may unwittingly put their license on the line when they treat patients using their best professional judgement.17

Dr. Pan said that he proposed the bill to stop doctors like Simone Gold, MD, who founded America’s Frontline Doctors during the pandemic and formerly practiced in Beverly Hills, from providing patients with what he termed “misinformation” about COVID-19. Dr. Pan led the effort to remove the personal belief vaccine exemption from California public health laws in 2015 and, in describing this law, ominously said:

When someone blatantly provides misinformation, totally inaccurate information—especially with intention—that harms patients. That takes away the patient’s ability to make appropriate decisions.18

Dr. Pan’s statement raises two serious issues. First, it appears that he believes patients should only be allowed to receive COVID information and make “appropriate decisions” about their health care if he and the California Medical Board are the arbitrators of what constitutes an “appropriate decision.” In addition, the law does not speak about intention. If intention is not a component of the law, how can the California Medical Board infer or take a physician’s intention into consideration when doling out punishment?

Physician Critics of the New Law Speak Out

Jay Bhattacharya, MD, epidemiologist and professor of Health Policy at Stanford University Medical School wrote an article warning:

The language of the bill itself is intentionally vague about what constitutes “misinformation,” which makes it even more damaging. Doctors, fearing loss of their livelihoods, will need to hew closely to the government line on Covid science and policy, even if that line does not track the scientific evidence… What is abundantly clear is that this bill represents a chilling interference with the practice of medicine. The bill itself is full of misinformation and a demonstration of what a disaster it would be to have the legislature dictate the practice of medicine.19

Dr. Bhattacharya points out that doctors have an obligation to treat their patients according to their individual needs and health history. This law contradicts that principle by requiring doctors to act as agents of the state, who are only allowed to repeat what some characterize as “scientific consensus” but others may characterize as government backed propaganda.20

Legally, doctors owe a duty of care to their patients. This duty of care extends to warning and advising patients of the benefits, risks and side effects of taking a medication or biological and allowing the patient to make an informed, voluntary decision about whether or not to take the risk, which supports the informed consent principle.21

When doctors are prevented from informing patients about the inherent risks of taking a novel vaccine or a drug that could potentially cause harm based on an individual’s health history, or a doctor is too afraid to say anything at all out of fear of being prosecuted for professional misconduct and losing the right to practice, it seems doubtful that this new law will protect doctors with a valid defense in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Liberal activist Leana Wen, MD wrote in a Washington Post column:

While well-intentioned, this legislation will have a chilling effect on medical practice, with widespread repercussions that could paradoxically worsen patient care… The problem is that medical practice is rarely black and white. Much of the time, broad recommendations are intended to be tailored to the individual patient… Indeed, another lesson from covid is that science is constantly evolving. In a public health emergency, official guidance often lags cutting-edge research. Consider how long it took the CDC to acknowledge that the coronavirus is airborne. Should doctors have been censured for recommending N95 masks before they were accepted as an effective method for reducing virus transmission?

Kevin Kiley a California Assembly member predicted the courts will not allow the new law to stand and tweeted:

On Friday Newsom took a sledgehammer to the First Amendment by signing the medical censorship bill. The courts will strike down AB 2098 in short order.22

Lawsuit Already Filed in US District Court by Two Physicians

Two California doctors, Mark McDonald, a psychiatrist and Jeff Barke, a primary care physician have already filed the first lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California asking for the law to be revoked. The doctors are represented by Liberty Justice Center and claim that the new law must be struck down because it violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments. A motion seeking a preliminary injunction has also been filed.23

Daniel Suhr, managing attorney at Liberty Justice Center, explained:

We rely on our doctors to give us their best medical advice, yet the State of California is stopping doctors from doing just that. That’s not just wrong, it’s unconstitutional. Doctors enjoy the same free speech rights as other Americans. The State of California cannot define a so-called scientific consensus on an issue and then punish anyone who dares challenge it.24

It it is difficult to believe that the law will survive constitutional challenges and leaves open the bigger question: how could a bill that is overtly vague and unconstitutional on its face have been signed into law in the first place?


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Click here to view References:

1 Purtil C. Doctors fear California law aimed at COVID-19 misinformation could do more harm than good. MSN Oct. 6, 2022.
2 Johnson R, Kory P. California Gov. Newsom must not declare war on doctors over so-called medical ‘misinformation’. Fox News Sept. 26, 2022.
3 Sacca P. Gavin Newsom signs bill making it easier to punish California doctors who spread COVID ‘misinformation,’ top epidemiologist warns: ‘Chilling interference with the practice of medicine’. The Blaze Oct. 2, 2022.
4 Ibid.
5 Purtil C. Doctors fear California law aimed at COVID-19 misinformation could do more harm than good. MSN Oct. 6, 2022.
6 Johnson R., Kory P. California Gov. Newsom must not declare war on doctors over so-called medical ‘misinformation’. Fox News Sept. 26, 2022.
7 Halon Y. California’s new bill that punishes doctors for COVID ‘misinformation’ is ‘chilling’ and ‘dangerous:’ Turley. MSN Oct. 3, 2022.
8 Ibid.
9 Johnson R, Kory P. California Gov. Newsom must not declare war on doctors over so-called medical ‘misinformation’. Fox News Sept. 26, 2022.
10 Purtil C. Doctors fear California law aimed at COVID-19 misinformation could do more harm than good. MSN Oct. 6, 2022.
11 Sacca P. Gavin Newsom signs bill making it easier to punish California doctors who spread COVID ‘misinformation,’ top epidemiologist warns: ‘Chilling interference with the practice of medicine’. The Blaze Oct. 2, 2022.
12 Newsom G. Statement to Members of the California State Assembly on the signing of Assembly Bill 2098 (Professional misconduct by physicians and surgeons in the dissemination of misinformation or disinformation to patients under their direct care related to COVID-19). State of California Office of the Governor. Sept. 30 2022.
13 California Assembly Bill 2098
14 Ibid.
15 Purtil C. Doctors fear California law aimed at COVID-19 misinformation could do more harm than good. MSN Oct. 6, 2022.
16 Ibid.
17 Ibid.
18 Ibid.
19 Bhattacharya J. A Warning From Shanghai. Common Sense Apr. 12, 2022.
20 Ibid.
21 Nolo. A Doctor’s Legal Duty of Care Explained. All Law.
22 Sacca P. Gavin Newsom signs bill making it easier to punish California doctors who spread COVID ‘misinformation,’ top epidemiologist warns: ‘Chilling interference with the practice of medicine’. The Blaze Oct. 2, 2022.
23 Mark Mcdonald, Jeff Barke v. Kristina D. Lawson. Case 8:22-cv-01805 Document 1.
24 Doctors File Federal Lawsuit to Stop California Medical Censorship Law. Liberty Justice Center October 2022.

28 Responses

  1. We shall hold government officials to the same standard.
    When government official in CA lie or device they shall loose their job and not be able to be a government official.

  2. One hopes that when the “misinformation” clearly proves to be TRUTH
    if the government employees will suffer personal consequences!

  3. I love what you said, Registered Voter. There are not enough penalties for government officials that lie and restrict our freedoms. Senator Pan is a Big Pharma paid lackey. Thank goodness he is leaving office. But too many in the CA legislature are special interest lackeys too. Thank goodness Dr. Barkey and Dr. McDonald are suing to restore free speech and scientific debate. Attorney Jim Moody, an expert in this kind of law thinks it will be struck down too, Its too bad these brave doctors have to go to all that trouble, but We the People have to slash back against the Big Pharma monster.

  4. Where are all of the other CA doctors and why aren’t they joining in this lawsuit? Their cowardice and willingness to go along with governmental and Pharma misinformation is why I have lost faith in medicine.

  5. This Newsome is the same man who claimed that Ron DeSantis is a tyrant and limiting freedoms? Newsome is tha poster child for the Communist Party USA! He daily signs into law legislation that restricts freedom, that forces people to compromise their beliefs and freedoms, that force ridiculous restrictions and promotes resi up our ideals (like trying to force electric cars and banning gas engines) that forces people to pay high taxes, that takes away people’s livelihoods (like not allowing trucks over 10 years old to deliver goods in CA, or banning gas-powered cars by 2030).

    This latest joke of a law, signed by Newsome, is just another example of the power-hungry person he is, who thinks he’s God and the king. He really thinks he’s going. To be nominated for the presidency? The rest of the country despises him. And I demand to know WHO DECIDES what is considered “misinformation”? Because it seems like if it isn’t democrat thinking, or democrat issues, than it’s being called “misinformation.” It’s the latest buzzword to squelch freedom of speech and to punish government dissenters.

    1. Bearing false witness is a sin. Jesus loves you and will forgive you. All you have to do is confess your sins and apologize to Governor Newsom. It is not too late. God bless you.

  6. and I thought what is discussed between Dr and patient is protected by HIPAA, sooooooo how would anyone know? Hhhmmmmmm….

    1. The only medical information HIPAA prevents from being disclosed is to family members and friends of the patients. Other medical institutions and especially government has free access.

  7. The problem is the public will sit back because they will see it as a doctor’s problem, not understanding that it’s a foot in the door for restricting everyone’s free speech. It is anti-1st Ammendment & anti-human rights. It is not a doctor’s problem; it’s everyone who can speak, write or signs problem. Only a matter of time before Gvmt believes your thoughts should be policed.

  8. I lost respect for people in the medical field when they made people wear masks and said people who don’t are the reason the plandemic was spreading.

  9. Not a good law. There are some cases where it may end up being harmful to individuals. Hopefully it’s turned around in the courts. No, I haven’t “lost my faith” in medicine or government. We continue to educate and improve our laws. It’s an ongoing process.

  10. On the other hand there’s a good side to this law.

    I went into Urgent Care for a knee problem four months ago. The doctor came in without a facemask. He said by way of explanation “I had my vaccines but it doesnt matter, I’m not sick. It’s alright. Fauci got COVID anyway so it’s all a mess.” What he said was muddled but he implied since Fauci got COVID masks or vaccines don’t work. This was misinformation. It was insulting misinformation. It was dangerous misinformation. And he put me at risk by not wearing his mask. He totally deserves to be prosecuted under the new law.

    So with every law there’s always pros and cons. That’s how it goes.

    1. I’m assuming you’ve been drugged with the mRNA shot, and if so, isn’t that “protection” enough for you? Otherwise, why bother being drugged? Since virus droplets are small enough to get through a mask and the shot doesn’t stop transmission, how was what he stated “misinformation”? It seems you only want to hear and believe what you’ve been programmed to hear and believe. Try critical thinking, for once.

      Btw, it would bring me much joy to see the masks, the mRNA shot and Fauci brought to public trial.

      1. It would bring me much joy to see you brought to trial because you’re spreading misinformation as well. You have no place on this website. We have values you do not share; we are circumspect, reserved, we mean what we say and we say what we mean. We do not use hyperbole. We do not slander or libel others we disagree with. We do not use categorically specious reasoning. To put it simply; you are not welcome.

        You can take peace of mind knowing the lord will forgive you, all you hae to do is beg forgiveness in the court of the almighty, apologize to those you’ve borne false witness. God loves you.

  11. Can you say “Red Flag Mental Health Law” (in Colorado)?

    Can you say “TExting WHile DRiving” Laws almost everywhere?

    For the Love of Almighty God, why would you need YET ANOTHER SPECIFIC TEENY WEENY law, and to single out the covidiocy of COVID-19, to terrorize the American People?

    This, too, shall never cease. Just like the 9/11 Terror Attacks turned on the AMerican People and we lost ALL of our freedoms — what few we had — the COVID SCANDEMIC will never cease.

    Get and stay God=Centered. It’s the ONLY WAY!

    FREEDOM OF VACCINATION CHOICE, NO . . . MATTER . . . WHAT!

  12. Medicine only advances when doctors are allowed to think independently and challenge the status quo. Furthermore present day western medicine does not consider the whole person as an interactive system or pay attention to other medical traditions that have thousands of years of development such as TCM-but then traditional plant based medicine can’t be so easily monetized which is why certain parties with ties to big pharma are trying to suppress all else but western style medicine and even here trying to prevent re-use of older cheaper drugs for new diseases- ivermectin anyone?

  13. Left California years ago. San Francisco has become a septic tank under Newsome….what a shame….this new law (which I wouldn’t clean my ass with) is really for what purpose? To force people to do what someone else thinks is right for them. No thanks, I will make my own decisions on putting a non researched, non effective dangerous chemical in my body even if the president of Pizer doesn’t agree. In my office ( am an MD and a DC) I regulary see strong side effects from my patients that appear after the vaccine, usually after the booster, including…facial paralysis, circulatory problems in the lower extremities, extreme loss of energy, vertigo, breathing problems (asthma), chest pain and have lost 3 patients (they died) after the jab………. I send them back (not the ones who have passed for sure) to their specialist who gave them the shot, but they apparently have no idea what to do and are unable to admit or understand that this is clearly neurological/chemical damage. The scare care approach has caused many people to submit to an approach that clearly was not necessary for them and or the risks should have been more clearly explained. Watching Fox News’ Dr. Saphier who states ” the benefits outweight the risks”…Wonderful Doctor, what are the risks please?? But of course we hear zip on the risks Natural immunity is swept under the rug in the frenzy to administer an often damaging, lethal jab……Does medicine no longer have any integrity? Mr. Newsome is a bag of wind who needs to stay away from what he cannot understand..

  14. We are losing our RIGHTS …….Everywhere. I live in Ca. and am so disgusted by this Law….it makes me want to Scream!! Who is He to be the All Mighty and to put into LAW.

    1. I’m glad you want to scream. The pain you feel is a sign something is wrong with you. Follow the wisdom of your body and you will become well. Accept that you do not have the rights you think you do and you will be well. The almighty is the lord jesus and he will forgive you your sins if you but confess. It’s not too late for you Marene Mayer. God loves you.

  15. CDC MD should be indite for recommend COVID ☣️? for people under 40 years. The VARS, V Safe Columbia University study and other data from around earth ? show COVID vaccine people had more death ☠️ and medical injuries than no vaccine people.

    Yet CDC MD still recommended COVID ☣️? to them. Claim that the Data show; that the benefit out weight the risks.

  16. I practiced in California for almost 24 years and raised my family there. It was a beacon of free speech and freedom of thought and word. Newsome and Pan has reduced it to a jail that only they have the keys. They will decide what is best for a patient, not the doctor patient relationship that has been built out of trust. The ‘science’ that Pan pushes has changed several times with new information coming out about Covid and the different drugs he has pushed. Does that mean that he has to introduce a new bill with each evolution of his ‘science’?

    1. Bearing false witness is a sin. both you and I (and He) know perfectly well you are no doctor. When you lie you split hell wide open. Here’s the good news; the lord has risen and you will be forgiven. You have but to apologize to Newsom, Pan, me and the lord. Your immortal soul hangs in the balance. It is not too late. WE are waiting.

  17. DOCTORS SHOULD LEAVE CALIFORNIA IN DROVES. That would leave automatons providing poor medical care and everyone who supported this bill of unconstitutionality (hampering free speech), as well as interfering with informed consent, can be responsible for this choice. What ever happened to ‘first do no harm’?

    California may well become known as the state with the worst medical care!

  18. DOCTORS SHOULD LEAVE CALIFORNIA IN DROVES. That would leave automatons providing poor medical care and everyone who supported this bill of unconstitutionality (hampering free speech), as well as interfering with informed consent, can be responsible for this choice. What ever happened to ‘first do no harm’?

    California may well become known as the state with the worst medical care!

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