Last updated on: 7/15/2008 | Author:

California Medical Association (CMA) Biography

Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Legal?"

“The CMA has for decades sought to end physician participation in capital punishment, including seeking legislation banning such actions by physicians and other health care professionals. CMA believes that a physician, as a member of a profession dedicated to preserving life when there is hope of doing so, should not participate in legally authorized executions. Regardless of its method of delivery, capital punishment is not a medical task, does not require medical skills and the use of a physician’s medical skills for this non-medical task is inappropriate and a breach of one of the medical profession’s most important ethical boundaries. CMA believes that physician participation in capital punishment threatens the public’s trust of physicians. This trust is central to the physician-patient relationship.”

“California Medical Assn. Objects to Physician Participation in Executions,” California Medical Association website, Feb. 16, 2006


“On March 12, 1856, the Medical Society of the State of California held its first meeting at Pioneer Hall on ‘J’ Street in what is now Old Town Sacramento. The society’s first president, Benjamin Franklin Keene, M.D.,—also a state senator representing El Dorado County—led the meeting of 75. The dynamic physicians who founded the Medical Society of the State of California were veterans in the fight against cholera, encephalitis, typhoid and smallpox – diseases that became prevalent in the newly minted lands of California after the Gold Rush of 1849… The CMA and its leaders:
Started the state public health department in the 1870s; Made immunizations compulsory for school children in the 1880s; Began looking at ways to fund health care for the poor in the 1930s; Performed some of the first cornea transplants, and set up some of the first organ transplant guidelines in the country; and Started California’s first medical schools, which later became Stanford and University of California.”

“About CMA – Mission and History,” California Medical Association website(accessed July 15, 2008)


“To promote the science and art of medicine, protection of public health, and the betterment of the medical profession.”

“About CMA – Mission and History,” California Medical Association website (accessed July 15, 2008)

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  1. Is Participation in Executions Ethical for Medical Professionals?