Saturday, December 07, 2013

Tribute to a remarkable woman

Alison Davis was born with severe spina bifida. She suffered from hydrocephalus, emphysema, osteoporosis and arthritis. She was doubly incontinent and sometimes had intractable pain.

For years she tried to find happiness without God, but found it didn't work. She attempted suicide several times, until friends persuaded her that life was worth living. The former atheist turned to Christianity and the former abortion advocate became pro-life.

Her pro-life conversion came when a Dr Donald Garrow starved and dehydrated a disabled baby to death. He made a video of the baby's last days, and the video was shown on TV. Alison was horrified. She wrote to Dr Garrow and told him she was disabled in just the same way the baby had been, and she felt he had made a horribly wrong decision.

Dr Garrow invited her to speak to his hospital team. "I can't remember exactly what I said, but I pointed out that life with spina bifida and hydrocephalus could be full and happy, and that it was in any case wrong to deliberately kill any child on grounds of disability."

Alison became head of the handicap division of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, which later became No Less Human. She appeared on radio and TV and her erudite letters often appeared in newspapers.

Despite being confined to a wheelchair, she was widely travelled. She went to India to visit seriously disabled children and became "mother" to 130 of them. She established a charity to support them and learned Telugu so she could write to them in their own language.

She once said: "Sometimes what desperate people, disabled or not, need is to be given hope. What they definitely don't need is to be told they are right to feel so unhappy and that they would be better off dead. This is simply the moral equivalent of the practical example of seeing a person about to jump off a high bridge and giving them a push." 

Alison died this week. She was 58.

Earth's loss is heaven's gain.

"And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."  Rev 21:4.

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