No action in Oregon House on bill to allow starvation deaths of vulnerable people

Effectively kills SB 494 for this session

By Gayle Atteberry, Executive Director, Oregon Right to Life

I’m so thankful that I can finally bring you positive news about Senate Bill 494. SB 494 is the bill we have been fighting all session that would allow the starvation and dehydration of people with mental illnesses including dementia.

Almost two weeks ago, SB 494 passed the Senate with a vote of 17-13 (almost entirely supported by Democrats but also with a “yes” vote from Sen. Jeff Kruse (R) who had previously earned an endorsement from our PAC).

We waited with bated breath to see what would happen and are happy to report that it was assigned to the House Judiciary committee. Happy because this committee closed on June 2, effectively killing this dangerous bill for this session.

I wish I could personally thank every single person who contacted their legislators with concern about this bill. We also owe thanks to our faithful pro-life Oregon senators who did everything within their power to stop it before it left the Senate. We are grateful for their pro-life allies in the House who used their influence to send this bill to a dead end. We couldn’t have won this battle without every single person’s efforts. And the most important part of this win: innocent, vulnerable people will be saved from a horrendous death.

We may see a bill like this in the future. Should they try, I can promise you, we’ll fight it again.

This brings almost to a close my last legislative session as ORTL’s executive director. Come August 31, I will leave you in the very capable hands of our longtime political operations director, Lois Anderson, who our board of directors has wisely selected to assume the executive director role.

Thank you for always being ready to act when I’ve called for your help.

Because everyone deserves an advocate.