Monday, June 19, 2017

Oregon dehydration bill (SB 494) passes in Oregon Senate

* SB 494 died when the House Judiciary Committee closed for the legislative session.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Oregon Senate Bill 494 (SB 494) that amends the advanced directive legislation in Oregon passed on June 8 in the Oregon Senate and has now being debated in the Oregon House Judiciary Committee. SB 494 specifically permits the dehydration of people who are not otherwise dying.

Another Oregon Senate Bill (SB 893) that would have expanded Oregon's assisted suicide law to permit euthanasia (someone else completes the act) died in the Oregon Senate Health Committee.

SB 494 appears to simply replace the current advanced directives legislation, but in fact it encourages the withholding or withdrawal of nutrition and hydration (food and water) from people who are incompetent but not otherwise dying.

Since SB 893 would have expanded the Oregon assisted suicide act to permit euthanasia of incompetent persons, when the person stated in a valid advanced directive while competent, a wish to die by lethal drugs (completed by another person) and since SB 494 permits death by dehydration of incompetent persons who are not otherwise dying, it is my belief that SB 494 and SB 893 are companion legislation (incremental steps).

Since death by dehydration can be a horrific way to die, therefore if SB 494 passes in the Oregon House, it may lead to the approval of euthanasia for incompetent people, since lethal injection is a far less painful way to die than dehydration.

Read: Oregon bill would extend assisted suicide to euthanasia of incompetent people.

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