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Archive for the ‘right to life’ Category

An older white woman stands holding a poster that says 'Not in my name' in capitals.

An older white woman stands holding a poster that says 'Not in my name' in capitals. Image from the javacolleen Flickr stream.

In many states of the USA, one of the penalties available for first degree murder* is death. While the USA is far from the only country to retain the death penalty, it is the only western country to still have it,** and to that extent, it appears to be a bit of an anomaly.

In this context, it’s useful to know something about the relevant international instruments.

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Ok, the post title is snarky, but Fraser does seem to be getting his name in lights a bit lately [warning: there is a video that starts 5 seconds after you load the linked site].

As well as his resignation from the Liberal Party, he was on Q&A on Monday, for which there is a transcript here. I had it on in the background while I did some work, so I didn’t catch every word. But this comment of Fraser’s made me perk my ears up (my emphasis):
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I am against the death penalty. In all circumstances.

Ohio is planning to execute Kenneth Biros by way of an experimental lethal injection.

Currently, where a US state executes a person by lethal injection, three drugs are given. This is supposed to be a humane and painless way to die. Research has been done that suggests that it is not. (The Guardian article also recounts the attempted execution of Romell Broom, which sounds psychologically traumatising.) Death row itself is an additional form of psychological punishment.

I’m against the death penalty in all circumstances. If it’s going to be carried out anyway (and it will be, for some time to come, unfortunately), I’d like to know that it’s being done in as painless a way as possible. So in that sense, a recognition that the current three-injection procedure is or may be broken is good. (Personally, I’d like to hope that such recognition helps lead towards abolition.)

However, funnily enough, I’m also against experimenting on the people you’re trying to put to death as you put them to death. It seems to me that that can only add to the punishment.

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Christian Rossiter is dead. RIP.

I stayed out of the debate about Rossiter’s win in the Supreme Court at the time, partly because I didn’t have the time to get involved in the discussion in the depth it deserves, but also because it is quite a painful issue for me.

My grandmother chose to die by rejecting all food, water and medical treatment except morphine.

It only took her two days to die because she was so frail by that stage, and that was bad enough.

Her decision was a completely conscious choice to die, and something that I supported at the time (and still support) in the context, because she clearly did not want to live the only way she had the choice to live. But that needs to be contextualised, and I think it highlights some of the issues that Lauredhel outlined in the post I’ve linked above. I think they’re worth talking about again.

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