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Real freedom includes end-of-life decision making | READER COMMENTARY

State Sen. Will Smith, a Montgomery County Democrat, last year discussed legislation that would legalize medically assisted suicide for terminally ill people in Maryland. File.
State Sen. Will Smith, a Montgomery County Democrat, last year discussed legislation that would legalize medically assisted suicide for terminally ill people in Maryland. File.(Pamela Wood / The Baltimore Sun)

During our lifetimes, we make numerous important decisions about how we live our lives. But in Maryland, we are not allowed to control the quality of our dying as we controlled the quality of our living. (“Terminally ill people should have the right to choose when they die,” Jan. 22). Instead, arguments have been raised against such choice based on religious views, potential duress in the decision-making, possible impact on end-of-life research projects, among other things.

Not one of these arguments is strong enough to mandate that any person must suffer death without dignity against his or her wishes. There must be a line drawn between what the state mandates and what a person can do to control the quality of his or own death. A bill currently pending in the Maryland Senate, Senate Bill 701 End-of-Life Options Act provides a balanced approach to drawing that line.

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Michael Davis, Annapolis

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