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Legislature Acts On Physicians And Executions

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Sacramento, CA — The Assembly Business and Professionals Committee Monday passed AB1954 which will prohibit physician participation in the execution of death row inmates in California.

This marks the first legislative hearing on this measure.

AB1954 stems from the Michael Morales case. He was scheduled to be executed in February, 2006. In this case, a federal judge ruled that San Quentin officials could choose to either adminster fatal levels of sedatives exclusively or have an anesthesiologist present to potentially take part in the execution. The two anesthesiologists that agreed to witness the execution backed out when they learned their role might include their participation.

The California Medical Association has a long-standing policy that physician participation in executions is ethically unacceptable.

Written by Bill Johnson