Oregon Senate Committee Votes Out SB 494, Endangers Patients with Mental Illness or Dementia

Salem, Ore–Yesterday the Oregon Senate Rules Committee passed out Senate Bill 494 on a party-line vote. Touted as a “simple update” to Oregon’s current advance directive, this bill is designed to allow for the starving and dehydrating to death of patients with dementia or mental illness.

Senate Bill 494 is little more than the state colluding with the healthcare industry to save money on the backs of mentally ill and dementia patients. This bill would remove current safeguards in Oregon’s advance directive statute that protect conscious patients’ access to ordinary food and water when they no longer have the ability to make decisions about their own care.

“It’s appalling what the Senate Rules Committee just voted to do,” said Gayle Atteberry, Oregon Right to Life executive director.  “This bill, written in a deceiving manner, has as its goal to save money at the expense of starving and dehydrating dementia and mentally ill patients to death.”

Pic Credit: Unsplash.com

“Oregon Right to Life is committed to fighting this terrible legislation every step of the way,” said Atteberry.  “We have already seen the outrage of countless Oregonians that the Legislature would consider putting them in danger.  We expect the grassroots response to only increase.”

SB 494 was amended in committee yesterday.  However, the amendments did not solve the fundamental problem with the bill.  To learn more about what SB 494 will do, please watch testimony made to the Rules Committee on behalf of Oregon Right to Life yesterday by clicking here.  SB 494 is scheduled for a vote at the end of this week.

Three additional bills (SB 239, SB 708 and HB 3272) that also remove rights from vulnerable patients were introduced this session. “There is a clear effort to move state policy away from protecting the rights of patients with dementia and mental illness and toward empowering surrogates to make life-ending decisions,” Gayle Atteberry said.



  1. do unto others as you want them to do to you.

    Do YOU want to be starved to death???
    We have no right to take another persons life.
    It does not belong to us.

    Why would you want to kill another person by starving and refusing to give them water to drink? Why would you be so cruel? We don’t even allow people to do that to ANIMALS
    If you devalue life because of age or ability you beciome judge and god.
    There is a TRUE AND REAL GOD AND CREATOR……….. and we are HIS creation.
    We are not animals, we are HUMAN BEINGS given the ability to CHOSE to do good or evil.
    We have been given the ability to love and help one another.
    money cannot buy love.
    love is grown and given, it multiplies, it heals, it covers, it gives life.If you don’t know this love, ask God to reveal it to you,
    YOU must be open to recieve it that means put your defenses down, and be willing to surrender to love that is true and real, and
    died to give you life. Jesus. Ask Jesus to heal your pain.

  2. This is truly shameful that medically vulnerable people are being victimized by the state of Oregon. They should be ashamed of themselves for passing this type of legislation. I hope the legislators in that state remember this when/if they get to that state of health.

  3. Both my grandparents died this past year with dementia. In a thousand years they never would have considered this to be ok. My grandpa was married to my grandma nearly 70 years and would kill for the chance to spend one more second with her. Don’t make him come after you.

  4. Please vote against this bill. …it is unconstitutional. …..and remember your not exempt from this. God is the one rhat says when we die….not you…..you will be held responsible for these lives.

  5. I don’t understand how any decent society even can consider such a thing! This isn’t a novel, is it?

  6. It will be a very sad day if such a bill were to pass. My own mother and several close friends had dementia and lived for many years in their own homes with help of family and caregivers. They did succumb to the disease and it’s side effects. They certainly had difficult days but also moments of clarity and were given comfort by the love they felt from family and friends. In my opinion, unless a person has a directive that specifically identifies their wish to hold food and water at the end of their life, no one should be able to make that decision for them. What this bill would allow is reminiscent of what happened in Nazi occupied Europe to the sick and mentally ill during WWII.

  7. This is totally cruel to any patient. If this is the rule it should include mandatory retirement of anyone age 65 including government workers. It should also allow social security payments for only 5 years, disallow any kind of state workers retirement, as it is a burden on all Oregonians, they can have S.S. for 5 years, anyone convicted of drug abuse, molestation, murder, drunk driving or causing a death due to cell phones or having a buzz should be included in this bill and deprived of food and water. Therefore Senators, Reps, any public official, lawyers should have to be included. God will get you for this kind of behavior and betrayal to the people who hired you.

  8. I sent the below e-mail to Sen. Courtney and cc’d radio talk show hosts. One did read the e-mail on his show. SB 494 needs to be broadcast nation-wide and to Conservatives nation-wide. Liberals always project that Conservatives will threaten citizens’ well-being. This bill is proof of the Liberal agenda. We need to fight the Liberal policies on a National Basis.

    From: Kate Foley
    Date: Thu, Jun 8, 2017 at 7:40 AM
    Subject: SB494 a bill to kill and balance the budget
    To: sen.petercourtney@oregonlegislature.gov, sal@salesquivel.com, Sen.AlanDeBoer@oregonlegislature.gov, Sen.ArnieRoblan@oregonlegislature.gov, sen.DennisLinthicum@public.govdelivery.com, Sen.GinnyBurdick@oregonlegislature.gov, sen.tedferrioli@state.or.us, Sen.BrianBoquist@oregonlegislature.gov, Sen.LeeBeyer@oregonlegislature.gov

    One angry man, sick of his demented wife in memory care conceived an ideology that  assistance to eat equaled tube feeding.  When the court denied his request to end her life, he went to you to enable him to end his wife’s life by starvation.  What a sick horrible thought.

    Oh, but wait, you and your fellow Democrat Senators realized that most of the grandmothers and grandfathers in end-of-life facilities are receiving Medicaid. Many of them with few loved ones who visit.. You have a $1.5 billion shortfall (Medicaid) through the expansion of Obama Care.  If you put these people down through starvation (no matter how excruciating the death is), you will have a windfall of money (not from Heaven) to balance your budget.  What a grand idea for you.  Congratulations.   The Oregon liberal legislature is essentially full-filling what liberals always accuse conservatives of wanting to do “Throw Granny Off The Cliff”. You are superb at projection.

    Keep up your good work in coddling vicious murderers in their cushy, warm, with food, water, and with free medical government run facilities.  Don’t even consider putting them down.
    Kate Foley

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