Five Doctors in California Sue Governor Newsom Over COVID ‘Misinformation’ Law

Ringo Chiu/
Ringo Chiu/

Five licensed physicians in California have filed a lawsuit against Governor Gavin Newsom (D) and the Medical Board of California. The suit is focused on a law that they claim would violate their First Amendment rights as well as their constitutional right to due process.

Gov. Newsom signed the law in September and it will take effect in January. The law will allow the Medical Board of California and the Osteopathic Medical Board of California to take disciplinary action against physicians who give their patients what they consider to be misinformationabout COVID-19.

The law states, “It shall constitute unprofessional conduct for a physician and surgeon to 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.

The law also makes clear that “misinformation” is “false information that is contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus contrary to the standard of care.

The complaint from the five physicians explains that the governor and state lawmakers select the medical board members. They said that out of the 15 seats on the board, seven of them are designated for “public members” who are not licensed, physicians.

Jenin Younes, counsel for the New Civil Liberties Alliance and representing the doctors, said that the new law is the result of a censorious mentality that is growing and has grippedlawmakers in this country.

The lawsuit notes that the new law violates the First Amendment rights of doctors because it hinders their ability to communicate with their patients in the required course of treatment. It also focuses on the real intent of the First Amendment to protect minority opinions. It explains that minority views are the ones that need protection from government censorship.

According to the doctors, minority views may include opinions on the efficacy of mask mandates, they could also include the possible risks of post-vaccination adverse effects that include myocarditis in young adults who receive the COVID-19 booster shots.

Younes maintains that passing the law was shocking and it indicates that there are far too many people in the country that do not understand the First Amendment. He believes that the court will see the law as unconstitutional and strike it down.

The complaint from the doctor also alleges that “contemporary scientific consensus” is not clearly defined in the law and it is undefinable in matters of logic.

The complaint explains that “No one can know, at any given time, the consensusof doctors and scientists on various matters related to prevention and treatment of COVID-19. And even if such a poll could theoretically be taken, who would qualify to be polled? Only those doctors treating COVID-19 patients? All doctors and scientists, or only those in certain fields?

The complaint goes further stating that the very existence of questions illustrates that an attempt at a legal definition of scientific consensusto define how doctors operate in their day-to-day practice is impractical and borders on the absurd.

Dr. Tracy Hoeg, one of the plaintiffs in the case wrote that she is afraid of saying something to her patients that may be consistent with current scientific literature but may not have been accepted by the California Medical Board.

She believes physicians must be free to speak truthfully with their patients to maintain their trust.

Hoeg has written nine epidemiological analyses, six of which have been published in peer-reviewed journals. The topics included issues like the effectiveness of mask mandates and risk-benefit analysis of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines in children.