As Maryland considers allowing medically assisted suicide, readers add to emotional debate

The Maryland House of Delegates has approved a bill that would  allow terminally ill adults to obtain prescription drugs to end their lives. The vote was 74-66, three votes more than the 71 votes required for passage. A companion bill is pending in the state Senate. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun video)

With legislation legalizing medically-assisted suicide advancing through Maryland’s General Assembly, we asked readers what they would say to those deciding.

In support: Ending suffering, upholding dignity

Don't be angry or enraged that medical suicide gets legalized. Be angry and enraged that you didn't do things you could actually control. Spend what time you have supporting them. — Joe Norman


As humans we don't want dying animals to suffer, so we "put them down." Why do humans have to suffer when THEY'RE dying? — Samantha Porter

These people who the bill affects will die anyway within six months. This is just a way of helping them choose how they end their life that is already a foregone conclusion. Please stop calling this suicide. — Nick Sheridan


Every single day we extend people’s lives medically. How is this not taking life and death out of God’s hands? How is it OK that we create suffering in the attempt to extend life but it’s not OK to alleviate suffering and let someone choose to leave this world peacefully? — M. Martin

How is it OK that we create suffering in the attempt to extend life but it’s not OK to alleviate suffering and let someone … leave this world peacefully?

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People in my position need other options. Quit making it so hard for us to choose how we leave this world and choose who we want to help us. It is none of your business how we leave or whom we ask to help. — Karen Carpenter

Everyone deserves the right to die with dignity, without months and months of pain and suffering. To die with dignity is each individual’s choice, not the choice of others. — Joe Clabaugh

It’s horrible to watch loved ones fall apart, live with pain, defecate all over themselves, all while the medical system and insurance companies profit the most with procedure after procedure. — Julio, Olney

I just learned that I have breast cancer and should my diagnosis take a wrong turn, I do NOT want to suffer and I should be allowed to decide when I wish to die and have no one assisting me be punished for it. — Michele Therien, Hampden

In opposition: A dangerous precedent, care is more caring

People who want to end their lives through any type of suicide need psychological help not assisted suicide. What they need is company prayer, palliative care, etc. — Astrid Cazares

I would say "only God is author and finisher of life" you may not believe in heaven or hell but they exist. When that person who decided to "end" their life just took over God's role, then they sealed the place they will spend eternity, and it won't be heaven. — Rose Britt

You have opened Pandora’s Box, and the slippery slope will continue. We will soon be killing the elderly against their will like so many doctors and countries are doing. Then we will openly kill children of any age who are sick or have a disability. You have followed a dark and evil voice. — Tracey Chipley

You have opened Pandora’s Box, and the slippery slope will continue.

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Hospice with appropriate palliative pain management would have addressed almost all of the issues these legislators claim inspired this law. Comfort care advances should have been their focus. — Lorelai Eddy

As in Europe, it will only be a matter of time before acceptability for physician assisted suicide will extend to non-terminal conditions, including psychiatric illness. This is an inevitability we cannot allow. — Jennifer Palmer

Medically assisted suicides normalize suicide as a reasonable choice to suffering. There are other compassionate choices. — Elinor Metz

Where does it stop? How do we encourage our youth or others NOT to attempt suicide when an intolerable life is the concern? — MaryAnne Scheuble


This takes the protected and vital ethos of health care professionals away from their millennia-old Hippocratic commitment to be providers of comfort, hope, and healing, to become providers of death, not just supporters of the dying. — Mark Komrad

In favor of amendments

Insurance companies and hospitals stand to reap billions of dollars in savings on end-of-life care. Transparency on this issue must be examined and revealed to the public before this bill is passed. In addition, six months out is too far out. Doctors can be wrong and anything can happen in six months. — Linda Haller

My mother-in-law’s condition convinced me that I would not want to subject my family to similar circumstances. She would not have qualified for assisted suicide because she had dementia. I would hope that some kind of “advanced directive” could be included in this. — Janice Likens, Perry Hall

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