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SB 494 Passes Oregon Senate

UPDATE: While we were able to defeat SB 494, it was reintroduced and passed as HB 4135 the following legislative session and signed into law.

UPDATE: After passing out of the Senate, SB 494 was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, which is closed for the remainder of this Legislative Session.  Please see our latest press release here.

Today, Senate Bill 494 passed out of the Senate by 17-13. All Senate Democrats voted for the bill except Senator Betsy Johnson.  All Republicans voted no except Senator Jeff Kruse.

The bill, which would allow surrogates the power to withhold food and hydration from mentally ill or dementia patients, is pushed by big insurance companies and others who appear to view mentally incapable patients as a burden.  Legislators who voted “yes” on the bill are denying its real-world consequences, which will endanger the lives of people with mental illness or dementia.

The lone Republican supporter, Senator Jeff Kruse, who has long been endorsed by Oregon Right to Life as being “pro-life,” put an end to his pro-life ethic. He disregarded literally thousands of emails and phone calls from his own constituents, as well as detailed conversations with Oregon Right to Life lobbyists.

SB 494 now heads to the State House of Representatives.  You can rest assured that we will keep you up-to-date on the next steps for taking action.  We will not stop working against this bill as long as the legislature is in session. It is still possible to stop SB 494.  The Legislative session is constitutionally required to finish by July 10th, at which point any unpassed legislation will “die.”

We want to take a moment to thank the thousands of people who called or emailed their State Senators, even just in the last couple of days. Dozens of people (some from Eugene and Hillsboro) also drove to the State Capitol on Monday with barely any notice to speak out against SB 494 in committee (pictured).

We need to continue to stand strong for the protection of life over the next month.

44 Comments

  1. Love Opincar on June 8, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Thank you for this information. Keep up the wonderful fight!!
    I have tried and tried to use the link to email my Senator, but when I click on submit, nothing happens except the fields turn pink, as if I have entered wrong information or left something blank, but I haven’t.

  2. Sue Hanson on June 8, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    I’m ashamed to live in a state which would approve something this inhuman

    • Mrs Dianne Kirkwood on June 12, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      I am too, this bill is very disturbing, like some people are not worth a hoot! Just awful!

    • Crystal Hoffmaster on June 14, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      People that voted for this Bill & for senator Jeff Kruse — they all better pray they never become as such as one of these dear ones that are such a burden !!! I am frustrated because I just don’t understand “HOW” this could happen, what are they thinking, that they will never grow old or have even w/in their own families those born w/ needs.. & I am so heart broken over this, the people whose lives could be destroyed !! But we must keep the faith & keep fighting the good fight !! PRAY !! PRAY !! PRAY !! PRAY !! Thank You to all you who work so tirelessly I’m these matters & work hard to keep us informed !! GOD BLESS YOU !!

      • Laura Mumford on July 9, 2017 at 11:02 pm

        I so agree with you. My husband and I we’re just saying this very thing earlier. Praying hard for Our state, the country and the world. What has this come to? God needs to be our focus. It’s obvious! Who are these people trying to proclaim they are him? Praying also for the abortion situation out lovely governor passed or is trying to pass 🙁

  3. Peggy and Ken Millard on June 8, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    We are against the Bill 494….We are for life….No Bill and no ONE should be allowed to withhold sustenance and water from anyone….We cannot play GOD….It is not our choice to decide to let anyone die. I believe last time I looked into it…we are all human and subject to illness, but does not mean someone should choose for any one of us to die at their beck and call just because they may be a burden to someone…after all that someone ….someday….may be YOU.

  4. Cindy on June 8, 2017 at 9:41 pm

    This is totally wrong. This is what democrats have always stood for and is sad that people put them in office. This does not even dtate that it exclude children of mental illness either. Karma will get ones who do this. This must be stopped.

    • Teresa on June 9, 2017 at 6:40 pm

      Excuse me Democrats?? You need to check your freaking facts.

      • Greg on June 13, 2017 at 12:37 pm

        Excuse you what? Can’t read?

        “All Senate Democrats voted for the bill except Senator Betsy Johnson. All Republicans voted no except Senator Jeff Kruse.”

      • Carol F on June 30, 2017 at 7:47 pm

        No. The article says one republican voted for the bill so sounds like the democrats all voted for the bill. Check your own facts or just read!

      • Pat on July 20, 2017 at 11:16 am

        I don’t say this in a mean tone. But read the article again, it’s said, all the Democrats except for one voted for this bill all the Republicans voted against it except for one Republican. If you check the record for pro life versus abortion votes you will find the same kind of statistics. Why? Either a person believes in a creator that has a reason for the length of a persons life or that a life is only valuable If another human being wants it, young or old.

  5. Reada Springer on June 8, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    My mother recently went through a time of delirium without apparent causes. She was admitted to a rehab facility where she was declared in a state of severe dementia. She fell & broke her hip after 17 days of inconsistent care. She was then admitted to the hospital for hip repair & then admitted to a different rehab, again declared with severe dementia. She mentally cleared after 3 weeks and her mental state was corrected to normal, age-appropriate status. She was finally discharged after 48 days of physical, occupational, speech & cognitive therapies. This law would have threatened my mother’s life any of those days between delirium & discharge. SHAMEFUL LEGISLATION: SB 494.

  6. Patricia Epperly on June 9, 2017 at 6:32 am

    I support Oregon Right to Life!

  7. Linda k Hunt on June 9, 2017 at 7:44 am

    I am deeply opposed to SB 494.
    It is inhumane and unconstitutional.
    To withhold the basic needs of life is just wrong.
    Where is the compassion and concern for people?
    We are not God that we should decide who lives and dies because they are viewed as a burden to society, or a financial detriment to the insurance companies.
    Everyone deserves respect.
    Please take a stand against this deplorable bill.
    This is a step to our future when laws may become the determining gage that is used in all our lives if we live or die.
    What if Simone has an incurable disease so a law may say I die because I cost the insurance company to much money.
    We are sinking to a new low.

  8. Terri on June 9, 2017 at 8:16 am

    This is so disgusting! All because of money! We have wasted our tax dollars and yet a life, no matter what the circumstance deserves nothing? Entitled lazy ass society needs this law because they have drained our system! They are the people who do not need assistance! Stop enabling and start making them work.
    Get Kate Brown and her twisted concepts out of office.

  9. Karen Lee Custer on June 9, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Thanks for updates on this evil bill. We must elect Republicans in office to fight this kind of thinking

  10. D'Ann Matthews on June 9, 2017 at 11:40 am

    God bless Senator Betsy Johnson…and may karma deal the appropriate fate to all those who advocate for this bill in any way, shape, or form.

  11. Anonymous17 on June 9, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    I feel like your article gives the impression that the bill will die if not passed by the house by July 10th. In reading the bill it looks like it passes by default ( sine die).
    “EFFECTIVE DATE
    SECTION 37. This 2017 Act takes effect on the 91st day after the date on which the 2017
    regular session of the Seventy-eighth Legislative Assembly adjourns sine die.”

    • ORTL on June 12, 2017 at 4:37 pm

      The bill has to pass the legislature and be signed by the governor to become law. That section of the bill quoted is irrelevant if the bill doesn’t pass.

  12. Steve Callison on June 9, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    I am a Democrat but not a liberal. You think they are the same, they are not. I am opposed to this bill as it is inhumane. It has nothing to do with religion, and nothing to do with the party I vote for. It is simply not right.

    • Crystal Hoffmaster on June 14, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      I understand those who say they are Democrat but not liberal — Praise GOD — but you must see it this way -You vote the Democrats in office & we can already see the damage that can be done when they have the power to do so !! And some Republicans are no better — we must now learn to vote for individuals & not party’s !! Again shame on senator Jeff Kruse — who was supposedly right for life !! He must have gotten paid well for his being a turncoat !!

    • richie wood on June 15, 2017 at 11:10 am

      I’m sorry but it DOES have to do with the party you voted for if you voted democrat.

  13. L. G. on June 9, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Doctors were unable to diagnose my hypothyroidism which caused me to have mental issues when in my late 30’s. A Japanese ER physician finally discovered the cause of my illness and prescribed and inexpensive low dose medication that I have taken daily for 50 years. I have since been active as a CEO in our family owned business, an elected public official and served many volunteer positions in my community. At 83 years of age, I continue to actively assist needs within my own family as a great grandparent. I have been an advocate for compassionate mental health care for many, many years.

  14. Warren sonne on June 9, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    This really makes me sick they are people too and for them to act as if they’re just a disease is sickening the ones in the state House and any other place like that they’re the ones that are the disease stand up and fight for these people they can’t help the way they’re born

  15. Viamae McKnight on June 9, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    This is murder, no matter how you look at it. It must be stopped. Our state is going crazy.

  16. Valerie Fouladian on June 9, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    This is unreal! What is wrong with you? You are monsters for passing this!

  17. Ellen McDaniel on June 10, 2017 at 5:45 am

    I just hope these Senators who voted for this bill,someday wil be old and get dementia, and whoever says “oh we will just starve them to death because they are a burden”. What has happened to this society, this makes me sick to my stomach..And the insurance companies are PUSHING this. People pay into insurance month after month, year after year, sometimes don’t even go to the Doctor, then when they need it, they are going to be starved to death. I don’t think So!!!
    Oregon has stooped to a new low!!

  18. Louise Spelhaug on June 10, 2017 at 6:09 am

    I DO NOT SUPPORT BILL SB 494,IS WORSE ABUSE THAN IVE EVER HEARD OF,MY GOD YOU SENTAORS YOU ARE NOT GOD,YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO MAKE THIS A LAW TO KILL OLDER PEOPLE WITH DEMENTIA,MY AUNT LIVED TIL101 WITH IT,AND STILL KNEW PEOPLE,MY MOM 100YRS,

  19. Benjy on June 10, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    evil is as evil does and murder is murder no matter how you justify it

  20. Jane on June 14, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Extremely sad to realize that basic respect for life is not the norm in our society 🙁

  21. Jim McLain on June 14, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Does include people who have left a living will directing that have no food or water? If so. how can Oregon, a state,t hat allows assisted suicide justify such a law. I have o
    no skin in this game either way unless they want my moldering shell down from Alaska or up from Panama depending on whee I end up if my mind goes. I don’t keep alive as a potted plant. Let me go softly into that good night. One can only rage against the dying of the light for so long.

  22. Victress I Jenkins on June 14, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    While I don’t live in Oregon, I stand with those who oppose this bill. How could anyone in conscience vote for “such a barbaric and satanic bill”? I hope the good people of Oregon will remember this when the particular state senator[s] are up for election. That is their chance to bring the state back to “sanity”. Thank goodness that Senator Betsy Johnson voted “no”!!

  23. Registered Nurse on June 15, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Looks like it’s time to move out of Oregon. My morals and values are not reflected here. Life is not valued from conception to the elderly anymore. As an RN, I will not obey this law. I answer to the same Almighty that everyone else does. When the time is right, God will deal with each individual according to what they’ve done.

    • Bobbie Nilsson on June 17, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      Bless you!

  24. Bobbie Nilsson on June 17, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    This law is sick and how anyone could believe this is OK. They will meet their maker one day.
    I work with many Dementia patients and the thought of such cruelty is unbearable.No one knows the suffering they could go through in the quest to save the mighty dollar.Think again we’re not God.

  25. Sawnie on June 18, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    This bill is criminal. Charges must be made for abusing the government. We cannot accept this behavior. This is terribly wrong and should be stopped immediately! No one in their right mind can possibly agree with this. God help us all!

  26. Sawnie on June 18, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    This bill is wrong and those in support must not be tolerated. We the people cannot allow our elected officials to behave in this manner. They have crossed the line with their limits of authority. This is not their job and our taxes (and insurance premiums) are not intended to pay for those kinds of decisions to be made by them. They do not have the power or the right to do this.

  27. Sawnie on June 18, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    This bill is wrong and those supporting it are out of control.

  28. Christine Flanagan on June 20, 2017 at 7:28 am

    I just emailed the Alzheimer’s Association about this. They should be defending those patients and fighting against this bill.

  29. procomptor on June 21, 2017 at 9:54 am

    This needs to go viral! My Mom had Dementia and finally Alzheimer’s and lived many wonderful years with me and I am outraged over this!

    This is what happens when you live in a liberal state with a liberal Governor and the corrupt Democratic party ruling! People it is time for a change and the way that is done is at the poles.

    I guess if you can’t kill enough babies with abortion then you take up the slack by killing seniors! God help us all…..mike

  30. RedSpecinaBlueSea on July 3, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Looks like the Red States will have to enact a travel ban on Oregon for forced killing of their most frail and incapacitated burdens, er citizens.

  31. Hezakiah S Levinson on March 4, 2019 at 9:50 am

    The Nazis wanted to dispose of unwanted types too; Democrats at their favorite past time strike again. First came making the aborting of up to 9 months legal,than came the vote against to protect babies that survived the the abortion so they can be murdered conscious,aware,and VERY much human for you scumbags that feel an unborn isn’t human yet.. Now Oregon wants to pass a bill so you can “dispose” of the mentally disabled like gramps with senility or Alzheimer, murdering them by denial of food and drink. Senate Bill 494 passed out of the Senate by 17-13. All Senate Democrats voted for the bill except Senator Betsy Johnson. All Republicans voted no except Senator Jeff Kruse.When Dems push this national,pray your Dem ass doesn’t get senile .

    • ORTL on March 7, 2019 at 8:11 pm

      Unfortunately, this bill was reintroduced in the next legislative session as HB 4135 and despite our best efforts, it passed.

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