ST. LOUIS — Missouri Governor Jay Nixon on Friday halted what was to have been the first execution in the United States to use the popular anesthetic propofol, following threats from the European Union to limit export of the drug if it was used to carry out the death penalty.
Nixon also ordered the Missouri Department of Corrections to come up with a way to perform lethal injections without propofol, the leading anesthetic used in America’s hospitals and clinics. Nearly 90 percent of the nation’s propofol is imported from Europe.
‘‘As governor, my interest is in making sure justice is served and public health is protected,’’ Nixon said in a statement. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.