Betsy Davis

A suicide party? Moral and religious questions? Associated Press draws a blank

A suicide party? Moral and religious questions? Associated Press draws a blank

Ever hear of a suicide party?

There was such an event in San Diego in July and the Associated Press was there to tell us the details. The piece came with photos of a party with a 41-year-old woman who was sometimes sitting up, other times lying down. However, she could not stand or walk nor move her arms and her speech was so slurred, most had problems understanding her.

Still, what would you do if you were invited to such an event? Would you raise any questions of a moral or religious nature? We will come back to that.

SAN DIEGO -- In early July, Betsy Davis emailed her closest friends and relatives to invite them to a two-day party, telling them: “These circumstances are unlike any party you have attended before, requiring emotional stamina, centeredness and openness.”
And just one rule: No crying in front of her.
The 41-year-old artist with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, held the gathering to say goodbye before becoming one of the first Californians to take a lethal dose of drugs under the state's new doctor-assisted suicide law for the terminally ill.
“For me and everyone who was invited, it was very challenging to consider, but there was no question that we would be there for her,” said Niels Alpert, a cinematographer from New York City. “The idea to go and spend a beautiful weekend that culminates in their suicide — that is not a normal thing, not a normal, everyday occurrence. In the background of the lovely fun, smiles and laughter that we had that weekend was the knowledge of what was coming.”
Davis worked out a detailed schedule for the gathering on the weekend of July 23-24, including the precise hour she planned to slip into a coma. ...

The article described the party, and then its end:

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