Today The Sun, Britain’s most popular newspaper, expressed its support for a change in the law on assisted dying. The Sun says:
“Lord Falconer’s Bill would ensure terminally-ill patients prove they are mentally capable of choosing death, that they have “settled” on their decision and that they have not been influenced by others.
“These are sound safeguards.”
“The risks of legalisation seem tiny to us compared with the suffering it would ease.”
This editorial by The Sun comes following a survey conducted by YouGuv, which showed that 73 percent believe that terminally, mentally competent adults should be allowed to control the manner and timing of their death. This is in line with the safeguards set out in Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill.
The Sun was prompted to survey its readers by the Coronation Street plot about Hayley Cropper. Last year Hayley, played by Julie Hesmondhalgh, was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and as her condition progresses decides she wants to be able to control her death.
A difficult subject needs to be handled with care
Producers of Coronation Street have faced some criticism for creating the possibility of “copycat deaths”. It is important though to distinguish between assisted death – where a dying person controls the end of their life in the knowledge that their death is inevitable – and when someone takes their own life for other reasons, such as depression. Coronation Street’s producers have consulted with The Samaritans, who understandably advised against providing details of exactly which medication was involved or how the drugs where obtained.
Coronation Street producer, Stuart Blackburn, touched on the sensitivities of such an emotive issue in The Daily Mail, he said:
“This is a very sensitive issue and we will be exploring the effects of her decision on husband Roy who has a huge emotional and moral dilemma over her choice to die this way.
“Not everyone will feel Hayley’s decision is the right one and we fully respect this.”
“For that reason we will be exploring both sides of the debate on screen.”
We need your support to change the law
With an Assisted Dying Bill in the House of Lords this is a critical year for the campaign – find out more and get involved.