Alison Davis, RIP
Chesterton said that “Journalism largely consists in saying Lord Jones is dead to people who never knew Lord Jones was alive.” In that tradition we report that Alison Davis has passed away. If you didn’t know that Alison Davis was alive, you should have. She was the founder of the disability rights group, No Less Human, and just two weeks ago she wrote a letter to the Calgary Herald entitled, “Glad to be Alive.” In her letter, Davis relates:
I wanted to die for more than 10 years, at a time when doctors thought my life expectancy was very short. I attempted suicide seriously several times, and was saved, only because friends found me in time and took me to the emergency room, where I was treated.
At first, I was angry with them for thwarting my wishes. Now, I’m eternally grateful. I want to live now, even though my pain is worse than it was when I wanted to die. What changed my mind is friends who refused to accept my view that my life had no value, and a group of very poor children, who loved me wonderfully and overwhelmingly. I found a reason to live in reaching out to help others, rather than turning the negativity on myself. If assisted suicide had been available then, no one would ever have known the doctors’ prognosis was wrong, or that I’d be missing the best years of my life.
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children has a statement on Davis’s passing, in which SPUC director John Smeaton says, “Frail in body, she was full of strength in defence of the most defenceless human beings – disabled unborn children. Her keen insight and uncompromising solidarity have proved a powerful defence for the sick and disabled targeted with euthanasia.”
In 2009, Davis captured the dehumanizing effect on those with disabilities implicit (sometimes explicit) in the push for euthanasia/assisted suicide, when she wrote to the Daily Telegraph: “[T]he view that assisted suicide should be available for both terminally ill people and those with disabilities. This sends out a message to them that their lives have less (if any) value, and that those who arrange their death will never be brought to justice.”
Alex Schadenberg has written about Alison Davis often and if you were unfamiliar with her commitment to highlight the plight of people with disabilities in the face of the aggressive push for euthanasia and assisted-suicide, you should check out his archives.
The pro-life movement and the disabilities community has fortunate to have Davis for the extended period after her fortunately failed suicide attempt; she was a powerful and much-needed voice for those with disabilities in combating the Culture of Death.