According to Ian Tuttle of National Review, Oregon’s Senate Bill 494 will make it easier for the state to end the lives of its most vulnerable citizens. “But it is worse,” Tuttle warns after describing what some elected officials have in store those who live in the blue state. “Having destroyed the professional oath to which doctors are bound, Oregon would destroy the basic ethic of care that is the mark of a humane society — the expectation that says to tend the sick, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless.” He writes:
Oregon, which in 1997 became the first state in the U.S. to legalize assisted suicide, is considering tweaking the laws surrounding advance directives, the legal documents by means of which a person can dictate ahead of time his desires for end-of-life care. The innocuous-seeming changes that Senate Bill 494 proposes would permit the state to starve certain patients to death.
Under current state law, “artificially administered nutrition and hydration” — intravenous feeding by tubes — does not include food administered normally: “by cup, hand, bottle, drinking straw or eating utensil.” The latter category, unlike the former, is considered part of the basic provision of care required for the sick, and required by law as long as the patient is mentally incompetent to say otherwise.