California To Drop 'Medical Misinformation' Law After Judge Blasts 'Dramatic Examples'

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Sep 14, 2023 - 03:40 PM

California has quietly announced it's ditching Gov. Gavin Newsom's draconian 'Covid-19 medical misinformation' law, which would threaten the licenses of doctors who don't agree with "scientific consensus" on various issues.

The law, AB 2098, was signed into law by Newsom last year. In response, five doctors alleged it to be unconstitutional under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the US constitution.

The five doctors, Tracy Hoeg, Ram Duriseti, Aaron Kheriaty, Pete Mazolewski, and Azadeh Khatibi, argued that the law prevents them from providing information to their patients that may contradict what the law permits or prohibits. They also alleged the law was used to intimidate and punish physicians who disagreed with prevailing views on COVID-19.

Now, as the lawsuit heats up, California has quietly added a provision to repeal the law to Senate Bill 815, which makes changes to the California Medical Board, Just the News reports.

Jenin Younes and Laura Powell, lawyers for one set of doctors who obtained a preliminary injunction against the law in January, told Just the News they were blindsided by the repeal provision, saying it wasn't part of any settlement talks in their case.

"It's incredibly last minute," Powell said. "Thursday is the last day to vote on bills, and it has to be passed by both chambers. There's no opportunity for public input and debate." -JTN

According to Younes, whose motion for summary judgement is due October 2, "We are considering next steps," and "We are unlikely to move for dismissal at this time, certainly not until repeal is complete.."

More via Just the News:

The Assembly Appropriations Committee mentioned the repeal provision in SB 815 in a Sept. 1 hearing but not in the bill analysis dated Aug. 21. The Medical Board itself didn't mention any such provision at its Aug. 24 meeting or in the agenda.

The repeal provision then appeared in the Sept. 5 version of the bill and remains in the latest version, Sept. 11. It's also mentioned in two Assembly floor analyses last week, without elaboration. The last three bill versions were amended by the Assembly, and the first three, the Senate.

Just the News could not get an explanation from SB 815's Senate sponsor or Assembly principal coauthor how, when and why the repeal provision got in the bill.

Judge slaps CA lawyer around

Younes, the lawyer in the Hoeg case, told JTN that it's not clear whether the repeal provision is related to a 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals hearing in a different lawsuit that went 'very badly for the state.' Five days before that hearing, the provision to drop the law wasn't in a July 12 version of the bill

In that hearing, Judge Danielle Forrest did not go easy on Deputy AG Kristin Liska, who claimed that doctors could tell patients that "garlic cures cancer" if the court strikes the law down.

"You give some dramatic examples, and I understand why," said Forrest. But disagreement over COVID-19 treatment "has existed even amongst the medical community about what we do about it."

Forrest added that the law refers to "consensus in the scientific community as though that's something different or in addition to the standard of care," which doctors are already expected to follow.

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