Ask The Psychologist Issue #49: Does CA Assembly Bill 2098 prevent Doctors from expressing their opinion?
Feb 1, 2023 — A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction halting the enforcement of Assembly Bill 2098, the patently unconstitutional California …
A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction halting the enforcement of Assembly Bill 2098, the patently unconstitutional California law that requires the Medical Board of California to investigate and possibly suspend physicians who say anything about COVID-19 to their patients that departs from the “contemporary scientific consensus.”
The law is being challenged by five California physicians represented by the New Civil Liberties Alliance, a nonprofit civil rights group. They’re suing on the grounds that the law is a violation of their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, which obviously it is. But Judge William B. Shubb didn’t even reach the First Amendment argument. He granted the preliminary injunction on the grounds that the law is so ill-defined and vague that the doctors are “unable to determine if their intended conduct contradicts the scientific consensus.” , etc.,. Etc…..
If you look at California’s Assembly Bill AB 2098, you will logically see —-
That California has been following Khrushchev’s # 1 piece of advice, given in his speech of September 29, 1959, when he generally said the following:
Your children’s children will live under communism. By proceeding with small doses of Socialism, people become very gullible and before they know it, socialism turns into full-blown communism.
He stated, we won’t have to fight you, we will conquer you economically.
Democracy will cease to work when you take away from those willing to work and give to those who are not.
How to create a Socialistic and Communist State:
1. Healthcare — When you control healthcare you control the people. (California’s Assembly Bill AB 2098).
2. Poverty — Poor people will not fight back if you are providing everything for them.
3. Increased debt to an unsustainable level, then you can increase taxes and that creates more poverty.
4. Gun control — if people cannot defend themselves, then you can create a police state.
5. Welfare – control every aspect of people’s lives, food, clothing and shelter and they will become fully dependent on the government.
6.Eucation — control what they read and listen to and what children learn in school, and then you can control what they think.
7. Religion-Take away God and have the people only depend on the government for they’re reasoning and values.
8. Class warfare creates rich and poor classes with no middle class. This way you can tax the rich and the poor will support the government for doing so.
9. Control the media and what people are led to believe.
If you look at what is occurring now in our society, you get the idea that China and Russia have been attempting to follow the nine rules mentioned above by Khrushchev.
Attorneys for two doctors have filed a federal lawsuit against the Medical Board of California and state Attorney General Rob Bonta over a freshly signed law that aims to punish physicians for spreading “misinformation” or “disinformation” related to COVID-19.
The complaint, filed on behalf of Dr. Jeff Barke and Dr. Mark McDonald in the Central California U.S. District Court on Oct. 4, just days after California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2098 (AB 2098) into law, asks the court to declare the new law unconstitutional and seeks a preliminary injunction to prevent it from being enforced.
The statute defines misinformation as “false information that is contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus contrary to the standard of care,” and disinformation as “misinformation that is deliberately disseminated with malicious intent or an intent to mislead.”
In his signing message, Newsom said he was concerned similar laws could have a “chilling effect” on doctors, but was confident AB 2098 is narrow enough to apply only to “those egregious instances” where physicians are acting with malicious intent “or clearly deviating from the required standards of care.”
Barke, a primary care physician, and McDonald, a psychiatrist, allege the recently enacted law violates their rights to free speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
They allege the law, which allows the medical board to punish doctors for “unprofessional conduct” if they don’t comply with what the state deems to be scientific consensus, “chills the protected speech of medical professionals on the basis of viewpoint.”
It also intrudes into the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship and replaces the medical judgment of licensed professionals for that of the government, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit names as defendants Bonta and the entire medical board, including Kristina Lawson, president; Randy Hawkins, vice president; and Laurie Rose Lubiano, secretary.
‘Scientific Consensus’ Constantly Changing
Daniel Suhr of Liberty Justice Center, lead attorney in the case, told The Epoch Times AB 2098 is unconstitutional and “un-American.”
While the law says doctors can’t provide patients with medical advice contrary to “scientific consensus” about COVID-19, the last two years have shown “the so-called scientific consensus is constantly changing and evolving,” Suhr said.
“And, in fact, it’s only because we allow doctors and scientists the freedom to challenge the scientific consensus, that we end up learning new things about how to treat the disease better, and actually deliver better results for patients,” he said.
Suhr said the Constitution allows the American people to determine what they believe is true, and only in a free and open marketplace of ideas can people see and understand their options.
“When the government comes in, and says, ‘We’re going to have one official truth,’ or ‘We’re going to ordain one ‘scientific consensus,’ that is fundamentally contradictory to 200 years of American history,” he said. “There’s something very Orwellian about it, for sure.”
Laws such as AB 2098 seem to be part of a coordinated censorship campaign that doesn’t bode well for democracy, Suhr said.
“We started with this whole concept of misinformation specific to COVID, and now we see it in health care related to gender transition surgeries; we see it in climate change; we see it in election results,” he said. “Our government is claiming the right to define truth and then censor and suppress any [other] view.”
Carlos Villatoro, a spokesperson for the medical board, said the agency “does not comment on pending litigation,” and Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office said on Oct. 4 it had “not yet been served.”
Dr. Jeff Barke in Tustin, Calif., on March 10, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
‘Could Cause Harm to Patients’
Dr. Barke, who is based in Orange County, told The Epoch Times the idea of the state compelling doctors to align their speech with the government narrative is “dangerous.”
“I’m primarily involved because I think it’s important to protect patients’ rights … because if a patient feels that a physician is being muzzled to speak their truth and give their opinion, it’s going to have a chilling offect and potentially could cause harm to patients,” he said. “The bottom line is to protect patients.”
Barke disagrees with the notion there is scientific consensus on COVID-19 in the first place.
“Science is not consensus. It’s the opposite; it’s challenging consensus,” he said. “The only way you get scientific consensus is when you silence people that have a di ering opinion, which is what’s happening now. So, there may be this perception that there’s some level of consensus, but there isn’t.”
For example, Denmark has recommended against COVID-19 boosters for any healthy person under age 50, while the U.S. is recommending that children as young as 6 months old be vaccinated, Barke said.
“So, if I speak out against vaccinating a healthy 6-month-old, or somebody who’s pregnant, or a teenager who’s otherwise healthy, I’m going against some made-up scientific consensus. And, technically at that point, the medical board could disapprove and accuse me of unprofessional conduct,” he said.
Not long ago, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health care agencies had recommended asymptomatic people be tested for COVID- 19, but now it doesn’t, he said.
During the statewide lockdowns, people were not allowed to attend school, sporting events, or theaters, based on the idea of asymptomatic spread.
“Well, that was the premise upon which all these draconian measures were based,” he said. “So technically, if I’d spoken out a few months ago and said I don’t think asymptomatic spread is really important and we shouldn’t be testing people that don’t have symptoms, I’d be in violation of this law because I would be speaking out against the established medical scientific consensus—whatever that is.”
With California already facing a shortage of primary care doctors, Barke expects more physicians will leave the state and create a heavier “unnecessary burden” on physicians and patients.
“AB 2098 is a bad law. It’s unconstitutional, anti-American, and it puts patients at risk,” he said. “I think it will be struck down in the court.”
Bart P. Billings,Ph.D.
COL SCNG-SC, Military Medical Directorate (Ret.)
Licensed Clinical Psychologist CA PSY 7656
Licensed Marriage, Family Therapist CA LMFT 4888
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