[JURIST] The Georgia House of Representatives [General Assembly website] approved a bill [text] Friday protecting physicians who assist the state in performing lethal injections. The bill, which overwhelmingly passed the House 157-1, would protect any doctor or medical professional assisting in an execution from having their state license challenged, suspended or revoked. The bill now moves on to the Senate. Lawyers for anti-death penalty activists sued to try to force the state to punish doctors monitoring executions, claiming that the doctors violate the American Medical Associations code of ethics [text] and the Hippocratic Oath [text], and arguing that doctors sometimes participate actively in lethal injections by helping to locate the vein, rather than just observing the injection. Anti-death penalty activists began to make an issue out of the assistance of doctors in lethal injections after Georgia [JURIST news archive] began using lethal injections as an alternative to the electric chair in 2001.
The death penalty [JURIST news archive] made headlines recently after the American Bar Association recommended a moratorium in its Georgia Death Penalty Assessment Report [DOC text]. Georgia has thusfar declined to follow the recommendation [JURIST report]. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has more.