An Oregon-based pro-life group is celebrating after a bill that would allow dementia and mentally ill patients to be starved to death was effectively killed last week.
Last Friday, Senate Bill 494 was sent to Oregon’s House Judiciary committee, which was already closed for the legislative session, Church Militant reported. A staffer with the House Judiciary committee told Church Militant that the strategic legal maneuver made by Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek effectively destroyed the bill.
Oregon Right to Life, the group that had been leading the fight to kill SB494, cheered the death of the bill, which would have removed safeguards that protect dementia and mentally ill patients from being deprived of food or water when they lack the ability to make decisions regarding their own care.
In an interview with LifeSite News earlier this year, ORTL Executive Director Gayle Atteberry called SB494 the most “devious bill” she’d ever read.
“It has been cleverly and craftily written so as to hide its true intent,” Atteberry told LifeSite in an email. “The lay person cannot really understand the bill without a lawyer to help explain it.”
On June 8, the bill passed the Oregon Senate 17-13, receiving only one Republican vote. It was then sent to the House Judiciary committee, which closed June 2, killing the bill.
Lois Anderson, ORTL’s Director of Political Operations and incoming executive director, announced the good news in a Facebook live video with ORTL Communications Director Liberty Pike, LifeSite News reported.
Anderson thanked “everyone, both in Oregon and around the country who emailed and phoned, sometimes repeatedly,” state legislators.
“If they ever try to bring this bill back in the future, we will be there to fight it tooth and nail again,” vowed Pike.
In the wake of this victory, Atteberry praised the legislators who took a firmly pro-life stance.
“We are so thankful to our pro-life Oregon senators who stood so strongly against SB494 and gave momentum to the opposition, which our pro-life House representatives then use to help send SB494 to a dead end,” Atteberry said Tuesday in a statement published on the ORTL website.
“Had this bill become law it would have been used to end the lives of innocent Oregonians who are not in the active dying stage but are afflicted with mental illness,” she continued.
Atteberry also commended the “thousands of Oregonians” who wrote to state leaders “expressing horror about this bill that exemplifies just how extreme Oregon’s politicians have become.”