Doctors in California who are found to be spreading disinformation in relation to Covid-19 could be disciplined for unprofessional conduct in California under a new law signed by Governor Gavin Newsom.
Bill AB2098, which was signed on Friday, states that in the event a physician or surgeon committing a professional misconduct by disseminating “misinformation or disinformation” about the nature and risks of COVID-19, its prevention and treatment and the development, safety and effectiveness of vaccines, they may be subject to disciplinary measures.
In the most severe cases, this could result in the doctor in question losing their licence.
Newsom said that he signed the bill “because it is 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.”
He added that the bill “does not apply to any speech outside of discussions directly related to COVID-19 treatment within a direct physician patient relationship.”
Nonetheless, the bill has drawn much criticism.
GWU law professor Jonathan Turley, who is a Fox News contributor and legal scholar, lashed out at the legislation in an appearance on “America Reports” on Monday, referring to the bill as “chilling.”
“This law is chilling and what it says about free speech in California, [is] these doctors are being told that if they are viewed as spreading misinformation, it will be considered unprofessional conduct, threatening their very licenses…” Turley said.
“Many issues like mask and vaccine efficacy are all being cited as areas where they want to stop misinformation,” he said. “Those are all areas where people were banned from social media making statements that are now considered to be matters in good faith, issues that are worth debating.”
“Back then when people questioned whether masks were effective, they were barred. And under this law presumably, you could have used this law to threaten their licenses,” Turley said. “But what was really essential about those dissenters, is they forced discussion and some proved to be right.”
Turley said that, despite being raised in a “very liberal Democratic” family, he no longer recognizes the Democrat party.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES
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