Committee Approves Bill To Ban Doctors at Executions
An Assembly committee on Monday approved a bill (AB 1954) that would prohibit licensed physicians from participating in executions, the Copley News/San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The legislation, sponsored by the California Medical Association, was introduced in response to a court order that required doctors to monitor an execution to ensure the inmate did not experience a level of pain that could be considered "cruel and unusual punishment."
Doctors have protested the order, saying it violates their professional ethics (Sweeney, Copley News/San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/18).
The bill would bar doctors from prescribing, administering or supervising drugs used in lethal injections and ban the state from using physicians to monitor vital signs of inmates or determining the moment of death.
The bill would not prohibit the state from using non-physician personnel to carry out executions (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 4/18).
However, several lawmakers questioned whether the legislation would set precedent in banning doctors from participating in other controversial medical activities, such as abortions.
The bill now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee (Copley News/San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/18).