Debra J. Saunders

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will present a new lethal injection protocol to the court on May 15. As Morales can attest, the safest man in America is a death-row inmate with a pending appeal.

At the time, I spoke with anesthesiologist Robert E. Hertzka, who told me it was "inconceivable" that an inmate would feel pain from a properly administered lethal-injection. Hertzka, I should note, has testified for the California Medical Association in Sacramento against allowing doctors in the execution chamber.

Now PLoS has come up with "chemical asphyxiation" followed by a question mark -- which is a high-sounding way of complaining that the wrong drug might have killed convicted murderers. If the article provides anything, it was something no lover of medical research would intend to prove: that medical research can be as over-politicized as any other field.

And that when activists want to find a doctor to say something that defies all reason, it can be done. If you can't beat the death penalty at the ballot box, you can find doctors who will write favorable research in a professional journal.

Considering that lethal-injection delivers three lethal doses of lethal drugs, starting with 12.5 times the amount of sodium pentothal needed to start a surgery, you have to wonder: Do those who argue that lethal injection is painful think that judges and voters are stupid?

Or do they think that you have to be really smart -- or think you are really smart -- to buy into an argument so patently false?

Debra J. Saunders

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