Del. Heather R. Mizeur's call for legalized suicide for the terminally ill ("Mizeur backs physician-assisted suicide," April 16) demonstrates incredibly poor judgment.

As a senior, I have seen healthy seniors badgered or misled by relatives or significant others into making very bad financial and other decisions. The terminally ill are particularly vulnerable to such manipulation. Greedy heirs or those who are inconvenienced by a sick person can exert tremendous overt and covert psychological pressures to coerce the sick into legal suicide.

A decent democracy does not collude in the murder (even self-murder) of its citizens.

Instead of fostering such perverted legislation, the state of Maryland should ensure that the terminally ill have easy, immediate access to good hospice and palliative care, a suitable array of painkillers and treatment for depression and mental problems. Suicide is never an objective choice. It is an act of desperation by a sufferer who has been denied other options to ameliorate his or her physical and/or psychological pain.

Mary Catalfamo, Baltimore

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