A bill allowing the starvation and dehydration of dementia and mentally ill patients against their will passed the Oregon Senate 17-13 on June 8.
Oregon Right to Life has been battling SB494 since it was introduced, warning it's a "devious" bill that's "craftily written so as to hide its true intent."
SB494 would remove safeguards in Oregon law that protect the right of patients to receive food and water as part of basic treatment. It would give healthcare representatives power to potentially coerce doctors into starving patients against their will.
Under current Oregon law, if it's unclear what a mentally incompetent person desires or wants, the person's healthcare representative does not have the authority to end the incompetent person's life unless the person is in a specific end-of-life situation.
SB494 was introduced after a dispute between the husband of an Alzheimer's patient and her nursing home. The patient, Nora Harris, had filled out an advance directive saying she didn't want to be fed intravenously.