Newsom repeals CA law that ‘censored’ doctors giving COVID-19 care.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill to repeal a Democrat-backed initiative that guided how medical professionals could talk about the coronavirus to avoid what one critic called “humiliation” in court.
California Assembly Bill (AB) 2098, passed in September 2022, authorized the revocation of the licenses of any medical professional if they “disseminate misinformation or disinformation related to COVID-19, including false or misleading information regarding the nature and risks of the virus, its prevention and treatment; and the development, safety, and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.”
A group of doctors, represented by the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), sued Newsom and the state in court, leading to a judge imposing a preliminary injunction in the case.
NCLA says Newsom and Democrats saw “the writing on the wall,” and moved to repeal the law.
“Governor Newsom and the state legislature saw the writing on the wall after Judge Shubb’s grant of a preliminary injunction in January,” said Jenin Younes, counsel at NCLA.
“Rather than suffer further humiliation in federal court, and implicitly conceding the unconstitutionality of AB 2098, the State of California has taken the unusual step of repealing a law that hasn’t even been in effect for a year,” said Younes, calling the repeal “a significant victory.”
Greg Dolin, a senior litigator at NCLA, said it was “sad that it took a full year and a federal court ruling to reaffirm a 250-year-old fundamental truth — in this country, ‘no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in… matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.'”
NCLA said that the law violated the doctors’ First Amendment rights to free speech and their 14th Amendment rights to due process of law.
“It interfered with the ability of doctors and their patients to freely communicate, serving as a weapon to intimidate and punish doctors who dissented from mainstream views,” the group said.
According to NCLA, physicians and individuals on social media threatened several of the group’s clients with using AB 2098 to take their licenses away, which they claimed was evidence that the law’s insidious intent was always to silence doctors who depart from state orthodoxy on COVID-19.
Newsom has been the subject of criticism from both sides of the aisle for his handling of the pandemic, which mounted to an unsuccessful bid to have him recalled.
Newsom, while imposing strict social distancing and mask mandates statewide, was on multiple occasions caught violating his own rules. In 2020, he was spotted at the French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley socializing with a large group of people from outside his household while not wearing a mask.
Last year, Newsom and other Democratic California leaders were spotted maskless at a San Francisco 49ers-Los Angeles Rams game despite the state’s universal indoor mask mandate.
A representative for Newsom did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.