Wednesday, March 7, 2007

AMA Halts Executions

This morning I was listening to the news on NPR and they mentioned a little something about the AMA issuing guidelines which would punish physicians who participate or oversee executions of convicted criminals on death row.

Now I'm pretty mixed on my opinions of capital punishment. While I don't particularly care for murder, even when state sanctioned, I also feel that there are some people who are just too dangerous to risk subjecting society to, and I feel that the burden of their life long imprisonment is perhaps hard to justify... so I'll just say I don't know how I stand on the issue.

But, having said that I will say I am wholly opposed to what the AMA is doing. In my opinion they are in effect using their power to license physicians to overrule the power and laws of the state, and I feel that this is a very dangerous precedent to set.

For no matter what your stance is on capital punishment, I think it is dangerous to allow the moral position of any group to dictate what doctors can do. What if the AMA became headed up by prolifers and withdrew the liscenses of doctors who provided abortion, or by strict catholics and punished drs. for prescribing birth control... or radical muslims and withdrew liscenses of male doctors who had female patients?

We may think that these things could not happen, and to be honest the only one that seems to be any real danger now is the abortion issue, since one could argue that since doctors are to preserve life that abortions are unethical (if fetuses are alive) but it is impossible to know what the future holds and how society will change in the years to come.

I think the population is about evenly split on the capital punishment thing, so this is not an overwhelming majority issue... niether is the prolife/prochoice debate.

The potential dangers of allowing any agency who is not accountable to the public (voters) for their actions to determine (effectively) what is done by the state is a danger to all of us.

I don't know what will happen with this, and haven't even been able to find anything about it on the web, but it is something that gave me pause and frightened me a little bit today.

Oh, and sorry I've not written in so long :)