Opponents of the death penalty claim execution by lethal injections is an unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment because the prisoners being killed could possibly feel pain during the execution process.  Assisted suicide advocates claim that assisted suicide with the same drug allows a painless and peaceful demise—or as they like to put it, “death with dignity.” So, what are we to make of Ohio’s decision made last month to use the drugs used in assisted suicide for executions? From the story:

Ohio is set to become the first state to execute condemned inmates with a surgical sedative sometimes used in assisted suicides, a switch made as the shortage of the drug normally used for executions has worsened. Beginning in March, the state execution team will use a single, powerful dose of pentobarbital, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction announced Tuesday. The drug also is used to induce surgical comas and is chemically related to a version of pentobarbital used to euthanize pets. It replaces the anesthetic sodium thiopental, which was already scarce when its only U.S. manufacturer announced last week it would no longer produce it.

Hmm.  I guess we could call those executions, “cruel and unusual, death with dignity.”

Articles by Wesley J. Smith

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