The first U.S. state that legalized doctors killing sick patients has now passed a bill that critics say will allow healthcare givers to starve to death mentally ill patients.
Oregon’s Senate passed House Bill 4135 on Tuesday (17-12) and in the House two weeks ago (35-25). Touted as an update to Oregon’s Advance Directive Form, critics say the bill paves the way for healthcare givers to remove access to food and water for vulnerable Oregonians with illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Oregon Right to Life (ORTL) Executive Director Lois Anderson says the effect of the bill is that “vulnerable Oregonians are left without protections and their right to basic care like food and water.”
“The advance directive was put into Oregon statute back in 1993,” State Rep. Bill Kennemer (R) explained, adding that it was “very well vetted” and “thoroughly discussed.”
“If it were to be removed from statute, I fear the legal protections we carefully placed there could be jeopardized, potentially harming end of life decisions for vulnerable patients,” he added.
Under the old advanced directive, caretakers may not decide to starve a mentally impaired patient to death unless that caretaker has been given decision-making authority by the patient before becoming mentally impaired (with four rare exceptions).
HB-4135 reverses that provision, allowing a mentally impaired patient to be starved to death — even against his or her will — unless the patient has made a contrary advanced directive.
“If signed into law, HB-4135 would endanger Oregonians with dementia and Alzheimer’s, allowing their healthcare representatives to remove their access to food and water,” the ORTL website explains.