Justine Brooke Murray
California passed a bill Monday to punish doctors accused of spreading COVID-19 “misinformation” and “disinformation.”
Doctors and other medical professionals accused of spreading “disinformation” and “misinformation” can have their state license suspended or revoked by the Medical Board or Osteopathic Medical Board of California for “unprofessional conduct” under the bill, which passed by the state senate Monday evening. If signed into law by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, California will become the first state to take legal action against medical professionals for expressing COVID-related speech deemed as false information, according to The New York Times.
The bill defines misinformation as “false information that is contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus contrary to the standard of care.” Disinformation is “misinformation that the licensee deliberately disseminated with malicious intent or an intent to mislead,” it states.
“Due to their specialized knowledge and training, licensed physicians possess a high degree of public trust and therefore must be held to account. The spreading of misinformation, of inaccurate COVID-19 information, contradicts that responsibility and threatens to further erode the public trust in the medical profession and puts all patients at risk,” said Democratic California Assemblyman Evan Low, who introduced the bill.
But in a lawsuit against California’s Medical Board, Physicians for Informed Consent called this an attempt to “unconstitutionally target dissenting physicians, including by attempting to intimidate by investigation, censor and sanction physicians who publicly disagree with the government’s ever-evolving, erratic, and contradictory public health Covid-19 edicts.”
California’s Vaccine Work Group, which was formed by state lawmakers, pitched the bill in February as part of a series of proposed bills they claimed will slow the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases, while battling misinformation, The New York Times reported.
The radical “Vaccine Work Group” bills are going down in flames.
— Kevin Kiley (@KevinKileyCA) April 19, 2022
All of their other bills have been nixed by the Legislature so far, including one that would have required all schoolchildren to get vaccinated against COVID, another that would have made all employees in California show proof of vaccination, and legislation that would have required local law enforcement officials to enforce public health orders.
The bills have until the end of the legislative session on Wednesday to be considered.
Newsom did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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