Legislature Endangers Patients with Dementia (HB 4135)

During the 2017 legislative session, we successfully defeated Senate Bill 494, which could have deprived dementia and Alzheimer’s patients of basic food and water.  With the help of many legislators, our dedicated staff, lobbyist, and many of you who called and emailed your legislators, the bill was stopped in the state House.

However, this deadly bill has returned in this month’s legislative session, this time as House Bill 4135.  Oregon Right to Life is mobilizing our efforts to protect the vulnerable at the end of life by defeating this bill once more.  However, we don’t have as much time.  The 2018 session is only 35 days, compared to the 160-day 2017 session.  This means we need your help now.

The bill severely and negatively impacts the end-of-life decision making of vulnerable Oregonians.  It would remove important patient protections by allowing a health care representative to make decisions contrary to the patient’s will.  This will put vulnerable dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, who may not have supportive advocates, at risk of starvation or dehydration.

Currently, any changes to the advance directive form and law must be made by legislators, ensuring government accountability to its citizens.  This limits the authority of a healthcare representative to override a patient’s wishes. However, should the bill pass, it will take the advance directive form out of statute and place it under the control of an administrative agency.

HB 4135 will endanger people who have a mental illness such as dementia, but who are still able to eat, drink, and make decisions, even though they need some assistance.   They are conscious people who have the right to basic food and water under current law.  This right is in jeopardy under HB 4135.

Finally, this law will change how you indicate if or when your healthcare representative can make life ending decisions for you.  Currently, when you fill out an advance directive, you must clearly indicate which life-ending decisions your healthcare representative can make, or else he or she can’t authorize those decisions in most cases.  The new law would effectively give a healthcare representative the authority to make life-ending decisions for you, unless you expressly did not give them permission in your advance directive.

We know how important protecting healthcare decision-making at the end of life is to you.  That is why we have provided a way for you to contact your state representative and senator.  There is no time to waste.  Please fill out the form below (a direct link can be found here) to find your legislators and tell them to oppose the deadly advance directive bill, HB 4135, today!

It is so important that we act quickly and protect all Oregonians from this bill.  Thank you for doing your part as an advocate!  The importance of your help cannot be overstated.


  1. This bill is a travesty! I am appalled that people sworn to uphold our constitution and protect the people of this state would consider this as a humane treatment of anyone. We don’t allow people to treat animals this way. This needs to be dwreathed and I would NEVER consider voting for anyone who would support this measure.

    1. I agree with you wholeheartedly! I’m ashamed that we live in a country that has drifted so far from it’s roots that we’ve forgotten how important life even is!

  2. My grandmother’s last words at 102 & 7 mo. was “I don’t want to die.” She was aware enough to know she was being overmedicated to death. In spite of her age and dementia she wanted food and drink and her supposed health care workers discouraged our family from giving her the dignity of anything more that moistening her lips. A woman who raised 4 kids & loved 14 grandkids was reduced to death by eugenics for “her own good.” She didn’t deserve the nurse who conned her into signing a DNR 2 years prior that our family knew was incorrect and done behind our families back as grandma was Catholic and very pro-life.

    Now my 71 year old dad has dementia. How long will he be allowed to live? This is why we must stop such inhumanity to our elders, loved ones, and those who are unable to speak for themselves but know EXACTLY what’s going on. This bill is a travesty! All lives matter and healthcare providers should not be in charge of deciding who lives and dies. Thanks ORTL for your amazing hard work!

  3. No one has the right to withdraw food or water from another person, no matter if they can communicate. It is a crime against humanity and our rights as a human being to live life and die when it is God’s time. Our constitutional rights will be destroyed if this bill passes. Truthfully, it should not even be allowed to be voted on by legislators in view of that. It is an example of what happened in Germany when Hitler was in power. We cannot be silent in this for the more vulnerable people in our society need to be protected. Please vote this evil bill down and put in place a measure that throws out the possibility of another similar bill being voted on. A committee of citizens should be formed to be watchdogs over things that trample our rights so that we can immediately respond. Throw this and other similar bills out now!

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