Article Abstract

Why it’s not OK for doctors to participate in executions

Authors: Robert F. Johnson


A plea for direct physician participation in executions is presented by Sandeep Jauhar in a New York Times Op-Ed (“Why It’s OK for Doctors to Participate in Executions”—April 21, 2017). Jauhar’s article is not a discussion of the ethics of capital punishment. He describes his own opposition “as a matter of principle, as a doctor.” However, since capital punishment is legal in 31 states, with required physician participation in several, he acquiesces to a utilitarian stance rather than the principled approach he acknowledges is expected of a physician in this circumstance.