Doctors no longer forced to sing COVID narrative in one state

 January 7, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

There's been a victory for free speech as a state law that limited what doctors could say about COVID-19 has hit the trash bin.

Officials with Liberty Justice Center say the repeal in California of Assembly Bill 2098 took effect on Jan. 1.

The law, adopted during the pandemic caused by the virus that escaped from a Chinese research lab working to make deadly viruses more threatening, was adopted at a time when the government was trying to maintain a single talking point about the threat.

Now the law, which enabled bureaucrats to revoke physicians' medical licenses if they disagreed with the state's official beliefs on COVID-19, has been repealed.

Officials with Liberty Justice Center explain they fought to overturn AB2098 in court before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, filing McDonald v. Lawson in October 2022.

After a year of litigation, the Liberty Justice Center announced a victory for free speech when Gov. Gavin Newsom resigned to the inevitable and signed the law’s repeal.

Jacob Huebert, chief of the center, explained, "We are thrilled to see this repeal take effect and to have defended doctors’ right to free speech. No one can have their constitutional rights stripped away simply because of their profession—or their religious beliefs or political affiliation, for that matter. Officials like Gov. Newsom cannot keep violating citizens’ constitutional rights in this way—and when they try, we’ll be there to challenge them in court."

Dr. Jeff Barke was a plaintiff in the fight, and said, "It’s a shame that such a law ever made it past the governor’s desk, but seeing it struck down is a victory for all Californians, not just for doctors."

Dr. Mark McDonald, another plaintiff, said, "We are proud to have been a part of the Liberty Justice Center’s work to defend free speech. Because of this repeal, California doctors no longer have to fear that giving patients their expert medical opinion could lead to punishment by bureaucrats—who have no medical training and are wholly unaccountable to the public they’re harming through such laws."

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