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Opinion: Assisted suicide storyline ‘in order to save herself from suffering, she has inflicted suffering on those closest to her,’ - but what do you think?

PUBLISHED: 16:57 28 January 2014 | UPDATED: 16:58 28 January 2014

Coronation Street characters Hayley Cropper with her husband Roy in the dramatic television storyline which has prompted a public debate on assisted suicide. Picture: ITV / PA Wire

Coronation Street characters Hayley Cropper with her husband Roy in the dramatic television storyline which has prompted a public debate on assisted suicide. Picture: ITV / PA Wire

The Venerable Jan McFarlane responds to an opinion piece by writer Stacia Briggs about the issue of assisted suicide.

Stacia Briggs argues passionately for assisted suicide and dismisses at a stroke those who would disagree with her right to take her own life should she choose to do so.

She embodies, in this respect, the spirit of the age - the idea that ‘it’s all about me’. Those of us who struggle with the idea of assisted suicide do so because we’re thinking not just about ‘me and what I want’ but about the impact of assisted suicide on others - on families and friends and on society as a whole.

I hope the Coronation Street writers will show the impact of Hayley’s decision on those she has left behind. Roy, who begged and begged her not to do it. Fiz and Chesney, who have been denied the chance to say the goodbyes they had planned. Hayley’s act was ultimately selfish.

To read Stacia’s previous column click here

In order to save herself from suffering, she has inflicted suffering on those closest to her.

And what of the long term impact on society? We know that abortion, originally designed for use in extreme circumstances, has now become so common as to be seen as another form of birth control.

Why do we think assisted suicide won’t also eventually become the norm? If Stacia’s wish comes true she might find herself in her 90s, enjoying a quiet but fulfilling life, but with those closest to her pressurising her to ‘end it all’ so that she’s no longer a ‘burden’ or to free up some life savings to pay off their mortgages rather than her residential care.

Perhaps the ‘me and what I want’ culture will then seem a little less attractive, and the profound truth in the teachings of “someone else’s God” may suddenly become apparent?

The Venerable Jan McFarlane

Archdeacon of Norwich

Diocesan House, Easton

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