By Paul Russell:
South Africa's News24 website is reporting that 'Dignity SA' founder, Sean Davison admitted in Chicago at the World Federation of Right to Die Societies (WFRTDS) biannual meeting, that he assisted a quadriplegic medical doctor to end his own life in 2013.
Sean Davison, originally from New Zealand, was convicted in 2011 of the assisted suicide of his 85 year old Mother in New Zealand and sentenced to five months home detention which he completed before his return to South Africa.
Reporting on the WFRTDS event for the South African Press Association (SAPA), An Wentzel told News24, "I can confirm that he did help Dr Burger."
Dr Anrich Burger became a quadriplegic in 2005 following a motor vehicle accident.
From the News24 report:
"He asked me to be part of his plan, and I became his co-conspirator over the several months that passed before we could effect his plan," Davison said in his speech.
According to a statement from Wentzel, Davison said after his speech: "Not all quadriplegics want to die, but those who do want to, should have the option."
The inconsistency between Davidson's supposed actions and the policy position of 'Dignity SA' did not go unnoticed by Wentzel:
"Davison spoke about the work Dignity SA is doing in SA, and the ongoing lobby for a law change to allow assisted dying in terminally-ill people," Wentzel said.
"However, from comments made by Davison, it seems Dignity SA is also now working with quadriplegics."
Dr Burger was clearly NOT terminally ill. This is just another in a long series of inconsistencies not only in the different objectives of the various 'right-to-die' groups, but also even within their own ranks.
As Mark Penninga recently observed:
What is often ignored is that as soon as assisted suicide or euthanasia are legalized, the right to life that everyone is supposed to possess moves from objective to subjective. That means that instead of having dignity and worth simply because we are human, we now have to prove our worth to an ever-changing standard that is imposed on us. That hardly sounds dignified.
But in this example, the subjectivity is extended without the law having been changed! The goal posts move seemingly at will depending on the circumstances! How Davison can justify this behaviour to the South African public in the face of his 'ONLY for the terminally ill' rhetoric boggles the mind.
But, of course, he's not the only advocate to have flaunted the law. Some of his colleagues in Chicago last week have similar form. Take, for example, Australia's other 'Dr Death', Rodney Syme who has also admitted to assisting people to die. Undisguised, he gave a presentation in Chicago entitled: CHALLENGING THE LEGAL SYSTEM - AND GETTING AWAY WITH IT. Maybe it's something of a 'badge-of-honour' or maybe it creates 'bragging rights' and adulation to say you helped kill someone at a WFRTDS conference?
But, of course, if they argue for a 'Basic Human Right to Die with Dignity' as Davison's outfit falsely claims, then any restriction to, for example, people with terminal illness, is little more than a marketing tool to try to lull the polity into the classic: 'Well, if it's ONLY for themâ€¦'.
The News24 article said that. When asked whether Davison was aware that he could face criminal charges, she said: "He is aware of that, but he believes in the cause of Dignity SA (the organisation he founded)".
What cause is that precisely? Is it people with a terminal illness PLUS quadriplegics? Will Davison now form an off-shoot of 'Dignity SA' for quadriplegics? Hardly, that would be discriminatory!
Davison and others should simply admit that their agenda is much broader than what they commit to the pages of their websites. Even if, as I'm sure is the case, that many of their members seek only a limited remit, the cat is well and truly out of the bag now that it simply won't stop there.
And for those whose modus operandi has seen them sail very close to the edge and beyond, I cannot help but wonder if their only recognition of the value of the extant law is that they want it abolished.