The Democrat-led California legislature approved a bill that could punish doctors who “ spread misinformation” about the COVID-19 vaccine.
The bill, called AB 2098 , would allow the California Healthcare Board to disbar physicians who deviate from the official COVID narrative.
From The New York Times :
The law would designate spreading false or misleading medical information to sufferers as “ unprofessional carry out, ” subject to punishment with the agency that licenses doctors, the Medical Board of California. That could include hanging or revoking a doctor’s license to practice medicine in the state.
While the legislation has raised concerns over independence of speech, the bill’s sponsors said the extensive harm caused by false information required holding incompetent or even ill-intentioned doctors accountable.
“ In order for a patient to give up to date consent, they have to be knowledgeable, ” said State Senator Richard Pan, a Liberal from Sacramento and a co-author of the bill. A doctor himself and a prominent supporter of stronger vaccination requirements, he said the law has been intended to address “ probably the most egregious cases” of deliberately misleading patients.
California’s Governor Gavin Newsom (D) includes a few weeks to sign the particular bill, but he has not really publicly stated his placement on it as of this writing.
Should Newsom sign the bill into law, the state would then establish a “ Disinformation Authority” that would investigate doctors for contradicting officially approved COVID treatments, such as prescribing ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine.
From The Times :
The legislation defines disinformation as falsehoods “ intentionally disseminated with malicious purpose or an intent to mislead. ” Treading into the at times contentious debates over alternative, often unproven Covid treatments, the bill defines false information as spreading information “ that is contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus contrary to the standard of care. ”
It says doctors have “ a duty to provide their particular patients with accurate, science-based information. ” That would range from the use of approved vaccines, that have been subject to fierce debates and political activism across the country, though there is broad agreement among medical professionals about their performance.
A group of advocate doctors called Physicians designed for Informed Consent (PIC) filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against this expenses, saying it would “ intimidate” doctors into silence rather than advising patients, and phoning the bill’s definition of misinformation “ hopelessly vague. ”
Pediatric doctor Dr . Angie Farella also explained on Telegram the way the radical bill violates basic medical ethics.
“ This bill is the epitome of medical censorship, that is what we’ve been yelling regarding for two years now, ” Dr . Farella said. “ This is a wedge that will be put between a patient and a doctor against the physician’s oath to first Do No Damage. ”
“ This bill basically makes it a crime for a doctor to give informed consent when it comes to any vaccines, even if the individual asks a question to the physician. Any physician that engages in this will be considered for the removal of their license from the California State Medical Board. ”
Another advocacy group called Californians for Good Governance noted the crisis is not over false information, but a “ crisis of institutional credibility” since the COVID pandemic.
“ The public has lost faith in the medical business, and censorship will not repair that trust. In fact , it’s the surest way to further erode that trust, ” the group warned in June since the bill was being debated in the legislature.
We don’t need #AB2098 because there is no misinformation problems. There’s a crisis of institutional credibility. The public has dropped faith in the medical organization, and censorship will not repair that trust. In fact , it is the surest way to further go that trust. pic. twitter. com/zHCoSlzfsN
— Californians for Good Governance (@ca4governance) June 27, 2022
Should Newsom sign the bill rather than veto it in the coming weeks, it will likely still face legal challenges due to its open disregard of the Initial Amendment.
“ Initiatives like this will be challenged in court and will be difficult to sustain, ” said Michelle M. Mello, a professor of law and wellness policy at Stanford University or college. “ That doesn’t mean decades a good idea. ”
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