Our battle for the lives of innocents, those patients who are conscious but incompetent, has a happy ending! After Senate Bill 494 passed in the Senate (17-13), the deadly bill went to the House. Because of excellent work by pro-life House members, SB 494 was referred to the House Judiciary Committee, killing the bill.
Oregon Right to Life has never fought so hard at the state capitol as it has since January working to stop SB 494, the bill touted to be a “simple update” to Oregon’s advance directive. In reality, however, it would have allowed the starving and dehydration of mentally incapacitated patients. We spared no expense, cut no corners, and overturned every stone in order to try to stop this bill. State agencies and powerful insurance companies, along with the right-to-die movement, have been working together for three years to craft this deceiving, deadly bill. They have all been part of Democrat Senator Floyd Prozanski’s (D-Eugene) “work group.” Last year, when we heard about the group, we asked to be included and were refused. Prozanski has been working overtime with his Democrat compatriots to pass this bill.
Oregon Right to Life alerted pro-lifers around the state and nation who stepped up to the plate with outrage over the bill. They gave generously to support the lobby team, called and wrote their senators, and testified at hearings. Personally, I was consumed with zeal to defeat this bill and I would not have stopped fighting until the last moment of this year’s session. The same can be said of the others on our lobby team.
Why have we, and so many Oregonians, given so much to stop this bill? Because it opens a door to a whole new classification of people who can be legally killed. Abortion has legally killed the innocent unborn since 1973. Assisted suicide, legal in Oregon and some other states, has killed adults who have wanted help in killing themselves. SB 494 would have opened the door to killing conscious, non-dying patients who have not asked to die but are rather incapacitated because of mental illness. The clear motive for the killing is money. Anyone can do the math to see it’s cheaper to kill a mentally ill person than allow him to live and be cared for.
The death of this bill, instead of the death of patients, is a tremendous victory! It could not have been accomplished without God’s help and all the good people who stood up against this horrendous bill. Lives will be saved because of the thousands of pro-lifers across the state who wrote and emailed their senators, pro-life senators who worked so hard against it, and pro-life representatives in the House who used their influence to stop the bill.
I want to give my personal thanks to God, who answered so many prayers, and to the thousands of Oregonians who answered our call for help. The battle is over for this session and lives have been spared.