California legislators have subtly passed a bill that would repeal a law targeting doctors who take a stand against mainstream COVID-19 narratives after previously labeling them as engaging in “medical misinformation.”
Assembly Bill 2098, which Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed last year, considers medical doctors and surgeons to be guilty of “unprofessional conduct” if they “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.”
The legislation subjected physicians found to have violated the law to disciplinary action from the Medical Board of California and the Osteopathic Medical Board of California, including potential suspension of medical licenses.
Last week, a separate bill was enrolled after approval by both chambers of the California legislature that included a quiet redaction of the repercussions for challenging COVID narratives outlined in AB 2098. Senate Bill 815 relates to regulations for the Medical Board of California, which handles patient complaints.
“Existing law provides that it shall constitute unprofessional conduct for a physician and surgeon to disseminate misinformation or disinformation related to COVID-19, as specified,” SB 815 declares. “This bill would repeal the above-described provisions that provide that it shall constitute as unprofessional conduct for a physician and surgeon to disseminate misinformation or disinformation related to COVID-19, as provided.”
While the legislative body has enrolled a final version of the proposed law, SB 815 still awaits Gov. Newsom’s signature before being enacted.
“The California legislature likely saw the writing on the wall – that their statute would be found unconstitutional – so they attempted to quietly scuttle it,” Mary Holland, president of Children’s Health Defense, said. “This is an example of how legal wins can lead to legislative wins, and this is definitely a win when doctors can practice medicine freely.”