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Protest sign at AB 2098 rally. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

California Doctors Sue Gov. Newsom and Medical Board over New Law Censoring Medical Advice

Attorneys say AB 2098 is unconstitutional, violation of 1st and 14th Amendments

By Katy Grimes, November 2, 2022 4:33 pm

California surgeon Dr. Peter Mazolewski says the purpose of Assembly Bill 2098 by Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) is to circumvent due process against doctors over “Covid misinformation conduct.”

AB 2098 will punish physicians and surgeons for “unprofessional conduct” for advocating for the potential benefits of early treatment with off-label drugs, or those who dare to ask questions about COVID vaccine safety.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 2098 into law. Now, the New Civil Liberties Alliance, a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group, and attorney Laura Powell has filed a complaint and motion for a preliminary injunction on behalf of five California doctors in Høeg, et al. v. Newsom, et al., asking the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California to prevent AB 2098 from going into effect.

Under AB 2098, doctors would be subject to disciplinary actions by the Medical Board of California and the Osteopathic Medical Board of California if they do not adhere to the “approved COVID treatment consensus.”

Who approves the “consensus,” Dr. Pete wants to know. The medical board? Public health officials? Neither the members of the Medical Board nor all of California’s public health officials are licensed medical doctors – California’s Medical Board is currently made up of 12 individuals: 6 Medical Doctors, 3 attorneys, a Public Relations consultant, an “Ethics Reformer,” and a Life Coach.

What is at stake?

“NCLA represents five physicians licensed by the Medical Board of California (MBC), most of whom treat patients on a regular basis. Drs. Hoeg, Duriseti, Kheriaty, Mazolewski, and Khatibi allege Assembly Bill (AB) 2098, signed into law on September 30, 2022, violates their First Amendment rights to free speech and their Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process of law,” the NCLA said in a statement. “The law not only interferes with the ability of doctors and their patients to freely communicate, but it has already been used as a weapon to intimidate and punish doctors who dissent from mainstream views. Several Plaintiffs have experienced threats from other doctors and individuals on social media to use AB 2098 to have their licenses taken away, an obvious attempt to suppress the doctors’ speech. They are being put between a rock and a hard place, fearing repercussions for acting in their patients’ best interests by honestly giving them the information they believe their patients need in order to make informed care decisions.”

“California’s new ‘misinformation’ law is the result of an increasingly censorious mentality that has gripped many lawmakers in this country,” said Jenin Younes, Litigation Counsel, NCLA. “That this shocking bill passed through the state legislature and was signed into law by Governor Newsom demonstrates that far too many Americans do not understand the First Amendment. Our country has a strong historical commitment to free and open debate and to protect the ability of those who dissent from the government’s view to express their own opinions. We have no doubt that courts will see this unconstitutional law for what it is and strike it down.”

The Globe reported in September ahead of the governor signing AB 2098, “As attorney Laura Powell of Californians for Good Governance noted, ‘Since AB 2098 explicitly restricts speech based on its content, it is presumptively invalid. The bill does not address the problem identified. The bill’s authors and supporters point to the problem of doctors who widely amplify falsehoods about Covid-19, but silencing them would violate the Constitution. To remedy the constitutional problems, it would have to be pared down to the point that it would simply duplicate existing law. Proponents are unable to cite a single example of a harm that could be prevented.’”

The Globe will follow up on this important lawsuit.

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11 thoughts on “California Doctors Sue Gov. Newsom and Medical Board over New Law Censoring Medical Advice

  1. A very important lawsuit indeed.
    As trust has eroded over the last two and half years in the field of medicine it is important that doctors can present all pros and cons for a medical treatment without fear of reprisal. It ultimately should be left to the patient to make an informed decision.
    Exactly what is determined as false?
    My primary care doc wanted to prescribe Remdisvir should I test positive for Covid. I consider that drug to be harmful and read it can cause kidney damage. He did not share any of the potential side effects with me. Would the medical boards consider the omission of potential side effects to be disinformation? I seriously doubt it!
    This law was passed by politicians who have no business dictating how a doctor with extended education and years of experience practice the ART of medicine.

  2. It’s great news to see this lawsuit brought so soon against the shocking, unconstitutional, free speech-killing AB 2098 so soon after its passage by the legislature and signing by Gavin Newsom. The sooner it is dumped, the better. This is one of the worst of the worst coming out of this legislative session, and that’s really saying something this year.
    I heard in passing that two other M.D.s down in Orange County — one a family practitioner and the other a psychiatrist —- were also suing the medical board and the governor because of the complete unacceptability of AB 2098. An example of one of the psychiatrist’s concerns has to do with being prevented from sharing his honest professional opinion with so-called transgender patients in their teens who come to him, as well as being prevented from being honest with their parents. If he believes there is a deeper psychological issue underneath (and causing) the patient’s transgender belief, then he would be barred from saying so and treating the patient. As you can see this would prevent young people needing treatment from getting it, causing them untold harm.
    It’s simply unbelievable that the CA legislature and the governor (who know NOTHING) would even THINK to put doctors and patients in this untenable position.

  3. My daughter has HS and a multitude of diagnoses stacked against her. Getting the vaccine could kill her. Too much spike protein and synthetic mrna is no good for everyone! Every body reacts differently to the virus because of evolved strains and and due to auto immune-understand my daughter has 26 providers at ucsf alone and more at Stanford in which include cdc /infectious disease and control -two levels of derm oversight -beyond a stage 3 Hurelys and a naturally rare “house” case! She is a Mrsa bloodstream carrier! argue and knock your medical heads about it.. But my child was hospitalized last Dec and I caught 3 strains of covid from behind a mask on the inside of the residence hospital isolation rooms. My child didn’t catch it! Vancomycin is some good shit! My go to big guns! When multiple antibiotics and tnf blockers can’t touch what eats from the inside out of my child’s body and chooses to flare my kiddo goes through hell and she was born with it! Wrap your head around that as it transferred from me to her! Stage 2 hurleys carrier. Bottom line Zpak or Amoxicillin mixed with Clydamycin can kick covid and Vanco annihilated it all by itself! I had 3 strains at once! first loss of taste smell and original covid with omnicron sinus congestion and full blown bronchitis mutated bacterial and was damn near put on a ventilator. Thank God it never got beyond breathing treatments but I don’t feel my heart has ever been the same rhythm wise… since… But again those remedies worked and kicked it for both my child and self and you can check ucsf on that data… I would love to help with that lawsuit because keeping my child alive has been all about building the right team of doctors and facilities in which communicate effectively without restraint from govt! I will tell Newsom personally-you let me know!

  4. I’m so relieved to see these doctors fighting this unconstitutional law in the courts. The courts will be our last line of defense against the authoritarians and dictators that currently lurk in political offices. It is truly bizarre that abortion and transing children are the only “protected” medical advice that Newsom and his ilk will insist is between the doctor and patient — unless said doctor disagrees with progressive orthodoxy on the subjects. This kind of subjective government intrusion into the practice of medicine is dangerous. Medicine is a field full of known facts (disease symptoms, specific illnesses, etc.) and trial and error treatments for less common or new illnesses. Research is ongoing in medicine because there is constant change and evolution in illnesses, so potential treatments need to be understood and developed. Blocking potential treatment methods due to political and/or monetary interests is insane. I pray that the lawsuit prevails and the law is struck down.

  5. As a California physician, I am very happy to see this unconstitutional law challenged by these courageous doctors!! I stand with them 100% and pray that this horrible and unconstitutional law is overturned!!!

  6. Great to see all this pushback here on this forum…but the MOST IMPORTANT pushback is to VOTE for Brian Dahle for Governor and SHORT-CIRCUIT Newsom’s tyrannical diktat over California…
    Then VOTE STRAIGHT REPUBLICAN (just for shiggles, what do you have to lose, right?) to get RID of the Democrat hegemony over California legislation – they are LITERALLY KILLING LIBERTY in this state, and MUST be stopped ASAP…
    We can DO THAT next Tuesday… DO NOT VOTE EARLY to tip them off and enable their vote-stuffing tactics – give them less time to react and increase the margin of their getting caught…

  7. Why don’t WE put a proposition on the ballot that we will name
    AB 2099 that states that
    ‘if AB 2098 is not vetoed, then AB 2099 will extend this ‘truth mandate’ requirement to all elected officials, government agencies and any other entities that work for US .’

  8. The fact that they passed this and other ridiculous laws indicates that they are confident in overriding any response by actual voters. The same could be said with regard to Democrats nationally.

  9. CA has been controlling health care providers for years. Did you know that they passed a law so that if a minor goes to a therapist and wants help for distressing and unwanted same-sex attraction, therapists are not allowed to provide this service? CA was the first to pass this law, but it has spread to other blue states, including NY and NJ. There are also ridiculous laws about confidentiality that prevent providers to inform parents of their child or teen’s high risk behavior. A 12 year old, who is promiscuous, using drugs, addicted to porn, doing random hook-ups, is on contraceptives that are causing side effects, and/or had an abortion, and that child does not want the health care provider (therapist or doctor) to tell the parent, the provider cannot. It’s a big mistake to raise children anywhere in CA unless you home school and avoid therapists and doctors!

  10. Void for vagueness. There is no objective standard establishing “consensus” , required by this legislation that allows it to be enforce this against anyone. Newsom knew that, and he signed it anyway. We don’t do mob rule in this country; never have. Vague demands for a “consensus” are mob rules.

    More Democrat hypocritical posturing and running cover for the medical-industrial complex, who does make big bucks off government employee health insurance plans -no one is interested in cost controls.

    Not the taxpayers forced to fund these plans as mandatory government employee benefits; nor the health insurance companies because they know health care benefits become a political hot topic when the employee unions come out wailing you are denying health care to our “public servants – our first responders – our heroes.”

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