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Comment: If death penalty opponents are so critical of the drugs used in lethal injection executions because of the length of time and suffering involved, why don’t they just ask the assisted suicide supporters for their alleged “humane” drug regimen? One likely answer is that the assisted suicides group don’t want any of their procedures, arguments, etc. tainted by the death penalty controversy.
For example many years ago, I called in to a big radio program where the featured person was a death penalty opponent who insisted that capital punishment was intrinsically wrong. She made the case that state-sanctioned killing hurts our society by lessening our respect for the lives of troubled and usually poor and minority people. She went on to add that that lethal injections were inhumane and that if we did not oppose capital punishment, we all become de facto murderers. She also cited the AMA’s opposition to doctors’ participating in capital punishment (See AMA’ position statement at:
I called in and asked what was her group’s position on legalizing assisted suicide. She said that her group did not have a position on this. I pressed further, citing that her reasons for opposing lethal overdose executions were equally valid for opposing assisted suicide. And, in addition, I mentioned the fact that some convicts have actually even asked that no one appeal their case because they WANTED to die while groups like hers continued to push for appeals. Obviously, these convicts also thought their lives were not worth living and wanted to escape further suffering.
The speaker then became angry and refused to answer, saying that the question of assisted suicide was outside the mission of her group, even when the sympathetic moderator of the radio show pushed her to answer my points.
I have long considered it ironic that so many capital punishment opponents oppose the public killing of convicted murderers but support the state-sanctioned and private killing of the innocent terminally ill, disabled, etc. through private, doctor-assisted suicide.
Personally and as a nurse, I oppose both. N. Valko RN]

Botched Execution in Arizona Causing Death Penalty Debate Used Assisted Suicide Drug

The drugs that are used in lethal injection executions are also used in assisted suicide/euthanasia.

Yet, we are told with regard to the former lethal use, that they cause pain and suffering–but with the latter use, it is peaceful, calm “death with dignity.”

Another execution using lethal injection has gone wrong. From the FNN story:

A so-called botched execution in Arizona is reigniting the debate over the death penalty and how lethal injections are administered. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer ordered a review of the state’s execution process after a convicted double murderer gasped and snorted for more than an hour and a half before his death Wednesday.

Studies have shown that euthanasia and assisted suicide killings can also take much time and cause adverse side effects–other than death, I mean–such as vomiting and seizures.

But that fact interferes with the death with dignity narrative, while promoting these problems furthers the cruel and unusual punishment meme.

Which is why I calls stories like this, “cruel and unusual death with dignity.”

[ Note: Wesley J. Smith, J.D., is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture and a bioethics attorney who blogs at Human Exceptionalism.
25 July 2014, Wesley J. Smith | Phoenix, AZ, ]