Thousands of Californians Write Gov. Newsom to Veto COVID Misinformation Bill

Micky Wootten | September 12, 2022 | 10:16am EDT
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California's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.  (Getty Images)
California's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom. (Getty Images)

(CNS News) – As a bill aimed at combatting COVID misinformation heads to Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk, thousands of Californians are contacting his office, imploring him to veto the bill on the grounds that it will chill free speech and violate the privacy of citizens.

A California legislative lobbying organization, A Voice for Choice Advocacy (AVFCA), has initiated a “Governor Postcard Campaign” to convince Newsom to veto AB 2098, among other bills.

Assembly Bill 2098, introduced by Assembly Member Evan Low (D-28th District), would grant the Medical Board of California the ability to revoke the medical licenses of doctors who spread COVID-19 disinformation or misinformation.

The legislation passed the State Assembly in May and the California State Senate on August 29. All it needs is the governor’s signature to become law.

In an AVFCA press release, the organization’s founder, Christina Hildebrand, called the bill “duplicative and unnecessary.”

Hildebrand further said, “AB 2098 defines ‘misinformation’ as ‘false information that is contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus contrary to the standard of care.’ With the ever mutating variants, changing vaccine efficacy and influx or treatments, how can there be ‘contemporary scientific consensus’ or ‘standard of care’ for COVID?”

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Hildebrand predicts that “Physicians and Surgeons are going to be stifled in their practice, and innovation and medical advancements will be all but dead when it comes to COVID-19 science in California.”

“Does California really want to lose more doctors to other states where they can practice without the threat of a witch hunt?” asks Hildebrand.

“Our organization put together this postcard campaign to make the governor aware of how many of his constituents feel strongly about the government’s overreach in these areas,” the press release concludes.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) has an email template on its website for Californians to express their concerns about the passage of AB 2098.

According to the AAPS website, “Physicians must not be coerced into blindly following the establishment ‘consensus’ and refraining from entering into debate that is crucial to advancing both science and rational public health policies.”

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“Such a policy would be harmful to the welfare of California patients, the integrity of the medical profession, and the wellbeing of the entire state,” writes the AAPS.

On its website, the California Health Coalition Advocacy group states that as “the understanding of the data and science related to COVID-19 continues to change as more studies are done,” and “standards of care are being updated as new information and treatments emerge,” these attempts at “determining ‘contemporary scientific consensus’ will be fleeting.”

Additionally, the Coalition fears that a potential “unintended consequence might be that the healthcare provider shortage would be exacerbated by the proposed law.” In other words, they fear that if California passes such legislation that makes the medical field increasingly hostile to dissenting doctors, then less doctors will seek out California as a state to practice medicine in. 

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