Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill to repeal a law that could have led to the censorship of medical advice from doctors related to COVID-19, according to a press release by New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA).
The law would have caused doctors to receive punishments for conveying certain COVID-19 information to their patients that deviates from the “contemporary scientific consensus,” according to the press release. NCLA represents a group of California doctors who claim that the state’s Assembly Bill 2098, which was signed into law in September 2022, breaches their First Amendment rights by clamping down on their freedom of speech.
The bill states that the law mandates “action against” doctors who are “charged with unprofessional conduct.” Spreading “misinformation or disinformation” pertaining to COVID-19 would be classified as “unprofessional conduct.”
The law was “narrowly tailored to apply only to those egregious instances in which a licensee is acting with malicious intent or clearly deviating from the required standard of care while interacting directly with a patient under their care,” Newsom asserted when the state initially passed it.
Moreover, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California temporarily blocked the state’s California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act (CAADCA) due to its likely violation of the First Amendment in September, according to a court filing. The law is supposed to safeguard children online by regulating data collection on platforms.
“Today is a good day for California physicians, patients, doctor-patient relationships, and the Constitution,” NCLA Senior Litigation Counsel Greg Dolin stated in the press release. But it is 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.’”
Billionaire Elon Musk’s X Corp. sued California to block Assembly Bill 587, which mandates social media companies publish their content moderation policies, alleging it violates the First Amendment and coerces censorship, according to court documents. It requires social media platforms to release reports on how they moderate issues such as hate speech, extremism, disinformation and misinformation.
Newsom’s press office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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