State Senate Lifts Requirement that Doctors Attend Executions
The state Senate yesterday unanimously passed a bill (SB 129) that would eliminate a requirement that wardens invite physicians to attend an execution, the Sacramento Bee reports. Under current law, wardens are required to invite witnesses to the execution, including two physicians. The measure was introduced by Senate President Pro Tem John Burton (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by the California Medical Association, which said that the requirement forced many physicians who work for the Department of Corrections to choose between "violating ethical canons or disobeying the boss." The medical association's board of delegates has twice approved resolutions to free physicians from the obligation of attending executions. The measure does not preclude physicians from attending executions, and doctors are still allowed to certify the death of an executed inmate. The bill now moves to the Assembly. A spokesperson for Gov. Gray Davis (D) said the governor has not taken a position on the measure (Hill, Sacramento Bee, 4/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.