Contrary to the March 9 editorial “Avoiding unnecessary suffering,” the data as well as personal experience confirm that assisted suicide puts at risk the lives of many vulnerable people who deserve to be valued equally. 

Although the editorial asserted that this ill-conceived public policy is intended to relieve suffering, the data it referenced from Oregon actually show that pain and suffering, or even concern about it, never make it into the top five reasons people opt for assisted suicide.

The top five reasons are disability-related concerns — one reason research shows that assisted suicide is inherently discriminatory toward individuals with disabilities and threatens their access to health care.

Assisted suicide also places those facing terminal illness in needless peril. My husband, who died at age 36 in December 2017 from the deadliest form of terminal brain cancer, wrestled with moments of depression shortly after his prognosis.

Had assisted suicide been legal where we lived at that time, he said, he would have been tempted by it, and we all would have lost out on so much, including the birth of our second son. It turned out his doctors were wrong, and his prognosis was off by years.

Assisted suicide is a dangerous public policy that Maryland should reject.

Kristen Hanson, New York

The writer is community relations advocate
for the Patients Rights Action Fund.