Medical ethicists challenge court ruling on lethal injection in Alabama case image

ScienceDaily, October 18, 2016
Harvard Medical School


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Court orders demanding death row inmates to provide "specific, detailed and concrete alternatives" to a state's lethal injection protocol compel those inmates to produce evidence that is impossible to obtain without forcing physicians and other clinicians to violate their medical ethics, according to Harvard bioethicists and legal experts.

Such orders, therefore, the experts argue, pose an insurmountable hurdle for inmates seeking alternative methods of execution.

These are two of the central arguments outlined in a recent amicus brief (or "friend of the court") submitted to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit by a group of scholars from the Harvard Medical School (HMS) Center for Bioethics, the Harvard Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics (the Petrie-Flom Center) at Harvard Law School, and other institutions.

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