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?

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

Tuesday, January 28, 2014
4:57 PM

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

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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

7 comments

  • Are we to understand that Jan MacFarlane, the church or her god think it is more 'right' that several people - Roy, Fiz and Chesney - should be selfish and make Hayley suffer ... than that Hayley should have a choice?

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    Patrick

    Tuesday, January 28, 2014

  • If someone is in pain and know death is inevitable then it is their choice surely? Personally I think I would choose suicide over suffering myself. As for the people left behind, they would be anyway if you waited to die and at least if you choose suicide you could have a time where family and friends come and say their goodbye's. When it comes to "bumping" off elderly members of the family to save money etc. I cannot see that happening as the person themselves would have to make that decision. Abortions are a completely different thing, personally I have nothing against abortion, at least its better than dragging a poor child into the world where it is not wanted.

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    Lynda

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • This so-called 'Archdeacon' should ask her invisible friend to end the suffering, if he is omnipotent, then people wouldn't have to do it themselves. Assuming he's not busy hating gays etc.

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    GoodRockinDaddy

    Tuesday, January 28, 2014

  • It is an individual's right to dispose of themselves as they wish. I gather that the story line was not the assisted suicide much trumpeted. To ask someone to assist with a suicide is a big ask indeed, but there are professionals who see this as showing mercy to the suffering. Who of us can know until we have had to endure it, the pain of terminal illness or the despair of mental breakdown? The rulings and power of the medieaval Catholic church saw felo de se written into common law-causing enormous hardship and stigma for the dependents of those who did end their own lives. Let the religious manipulate their followers as they wish, but their opinions should have no sway over the rest of society. By all means campaign to ensure that there is a right to life for those who wish to live but no one should condemn those who wish to die . Nor muddy the waters by bringing abortion into the argument, and appearing to trivialise the difficult choices facing some women, which the RC church was prone to do at the same time as treating orphans and young mothers with evil cruelty.

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    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, January 28, 2014

  • Good comment GoodRockinDaddy. Not just 'omnipotent' but supposedly caring and loving ... The really difficult part would be ensuring the right safeguards (against greed and evil in Man) if the law were to be changed.

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    Patrick

    Tuesday, January 28, 2014

  • There needs to be caution in changing the law.There are plenty of people who want other people bumped off and we should not forget Dr Harold Shipman.He's not the only member of the caring professions to be proficient at genocide.

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    Peter Watson

    Tuesday, January 28, 2014

  • If family and friends truly loved someone would they really get satisfaction out of seeing them in pain and continuing a life which had become totally intolerable?

    Report this comment

    Jasmine

    Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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