Judge Blocks California’s COVID-19 ‘Misinformation’ Law

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Dylan Housman Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent
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California’s Assembly Bill 2098, which would reprimand physicians who share unorthodox COVID-19 information, was blocked by a district court judge Wednesday.

Judge William B. Shubb issued a preliminary injunction blocking the implementation of the bill, which was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in September. Newsom was among the group sued by five California doctors in November for violating their rights to free speech and due process.

“The ruling bodes well for our case: it indicates that our arguments that this law is unconstitutional have strong pre-trial facial plausibility,” tweeted Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, one of the doctors involved in the suit. “Not to get ahead of ourselves, of course, or try to predict the final outcome of the case, but this is a very positive development.”

If allowed to take effect, the law would permit the Medical Board of California and the Osteopathic Medical Board of California to discipline physicians who share information that does not fall within the “contemporary scientific consensus.” Critics of the law say that such a regulation impedes on the doctor-patient relationship and stifles medical freedom.

Others have pointed out that the “scientific consensus” often changes and evolves over time, particularly with a novel situation like the coronavirus pandemic.

“In the middle of a pandemic, for some Senator to say that they know best, and they could adjudicate all these thousands of articles and decide the absolute truth on every aspect of COVID, is not true,” University of California San Francisco infectious disease Dr. Monica Gandhi said in November.

For example, the World Health Organization reported early on in the pandemic that there was no evidence of person-to-person spread of COVID-19, and numerous medical professionals said in 2021 when vaccines were first introduced that they would stop transmission of the virus. (RELATED: FLASHBACK Jan. 14: WHO Tells Everyone Don’t Worry Because China Says Coronavirus Isn’t Contagious)