March 10, 1993

Revised Justice Department Rule Does Not Require Physician Participation in Federal Executions

JAMA. 1993;269(10):1225. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500100017005

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RESPONDING to strong opposition from the American College of Physicians (ACP), the American Medical Association (AMA), and other medical groups and individuals, the US Department of Justice has dropped sections of its proposed rule that would have required physician participation in the execution of federal prisoners (JAMA. 1993;269:721-723).

The proposed rule, which was published in the November 30, 1992, Federal Register, met criticism from individuals and groups opposed to physician involvement in executions. In addition to submitting written comments to the Bureau of Prisons, the ACP, AMA, American Nursing Association, American Public Health Association, and National Commission on Correctional Health Care held a press conference December 29 to publicize their opposition to sections of the proposed rule.

According to a Justice Department notice published in the January 19,1993, Federal Register, nearly half of the 23 comments the department received concerning the proposed rule came from medical associations and individuals objecting