The planned use of the popular anesthetic propofol for executions has created a great deal of heated controversy. Al Jazeera reported on Oct. 11, 2013, "After EU threats, Missouri halts execution by Propofol injection." Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri on Friday called off what was to have been the first U.S. execution to use the popular anesthetic propofol.
The European Union has been threatening to limit the drug's export if it were used for executions. About 90 percent of the nation's propofol is imported from Europe. Nixon has also ordered the Missouri Department of Corrections to come up with a different way to perform lethal injections without using propofol. Propofol is the leading anesthetic used in America's hospitals and clinics.
Nixon, who is a Democrat and firm supporter of the death penalty, did not specifically mention the EU threat in his brief statement. He said, "As governor, my interest is in making sure justice is served and public health is protected." He has directed the Department of Corrections that the execution of Allen Nicklasson, which was set for October 23, to be cancelled. When Nixon was attorney general of Missouri for 16 years 59 men were executed.
The Washington Post has reported, "Missouri gov. halts 1st US execution by propofol." Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat, and Republican Missouri state Senator Kurt Schaefer have said that if the state can't execute by lethal injection, than it should consider going back to the gas chamber, which it hasn't used since the 1960s. All of this rhetoric about lethal injections has failed to consider the perspective of human rights activists who feel there simply should not be any executions.