Coronation Street’s controversial suicide storyline

(photo by Paul Walker)
(photo by Paul Walker)

Everyone is talking about Corrie.

Next week Hayley Cropper – a long standing character in the soap who has pancreatic cancer and is terminally ill – will take her own life. 

Every family experiences death, and nobody wants to see or think about their loved ones in pain.

It’s no surprise a touch paper has been lit.  The issue of how Hayley dies has become a major talking point – from the Sun to the Today Programme.

There have been strong reactions. Warnings have been sounded about copycat suicides.

Hayley’s husband is against the suicide. We wait to see what he will do.

The storyline has restarted the national debate on assisted suicide

The Sun backs a change in the law. It’s resident GP gives a heartfelt account of what it’s like to have a relative experience decline and increasing pain…and her wish to be able to end her mother’s suffering.

Meanwhile in the courts the family of Tony Nicklinson – who had locked-in syndrome – and Paul Lamb who was paralysed after a road accident are campaigning to have the right to ask a doctor to help Paul die.

The other side of the debate

However, disabled campaigners and charities, such as Care Not Killing and Not Dead Yet  oppose any weakening of the law. They are worried that it will ferment negative attitudes to disability and lead to disabled people being put under pressure to kill themselves.

As Dr Peter Saunders from Care Not Killing said on the Today Programme “The most concerning thing of all about this is the myth that suicidal thoughts in people who are disabled or sick should be managed differently from similar thoughts in those who are not sick or disabled… It panders to public prejudice in a way that is very, very dangerous.”

Scope’s chief executive Richard, explained the concerns in a blog.

This all comes ahead of an Assisted Dying Bill which could be heard in the Lords as early as May.

Scope has long argued that this is a really important debate, and even more important is that the views of disabled people are heard.

Let us know what you think about this storyline and the ‘right-to-die’ debate that it has sparked. 

5 thoughts on “Coronation Street’s controversial suicide storyline”

  1. The human race are very strange in the way they think. If a animal is suffering they put it to sleep…no question about it. If a person is suffering they are fully expected to linger on until the very bitter end. Why? Do we (humans) not deserve the same compassion as we give our animal friends? If we are dying and we know we are going to suffer pain, surely we have the right to say No, I don’t want this, I want to end it before I reach that stage. What is in the way? man made RELIGION and nothing more.

  2. I think in the climate of capitalism that we live in where everyone is valued by how much money possessions etc they can accumulate, euthanasia would rapidly become used to dispose of the weak and vulnerable such as disabled people who cannot contribute financially to society. As the mother of three disabled children, two of whom are severe learning disabled this frightens me! I can see some state doctor making the decision to euthanize my children when they are adults as the most economical option, rather than pay the high expense to care for them properly. It’ll be a sad day for society when that happens!

  3. I agree with Michelle. I would not trust that anyone could or should make that decision for my three disabled children. There are so many poor quality decisions made by the powers that be and budgets drive a lot of them.

  4. It is so very wrong that humans have to suffer and beg to die, yet my dog was dying from cancer and was suffering we were able to take his suffering away. It should be the person who is suffering to decide when the time is right not some government. I know somebody who was suffering and wanted to end his life so he went abroad to do so, but when his parents came back they were facing charges how very wrong

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