Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Mother's Act - Let Your Voice Be Heard On This One

"The Mother's Act" (H.R. 20) is a bill that calls for programs to be established whereby pregnant women can be screened for mental disorders and new mothers can be screened for "postpartum depression" which we all know will most likely result in them being prescribed dangerous antidepressants or other psychiatric drugs. The legislation was introduced 1/4/2007 by Rep. Bobby L.Rush, [IL-1]

A Senate Bill and a House Bill were introduced this year for this legislation. The House Bill is right NOW in the Energy and Commerce Committee and a vote is scheduled for today (Thursday 9/27) whereupon it will go to the House floor next week. The bill provides more appropriations for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct research into "postpartum depression" and biological treatments (drugs). In the past few years there have been many reports about conflict of interest between the NIH and drug makers. Concerns and investigations have centered around the issue that federal grant money should not go to scientists who may be predisposed to get results that favor their drug company sponsors.

This bill also is called the `Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act' and is intended to "To provide for research on, and services for individuals with, postpartum depression and psychosis." (Bill Summary)

You should contact your Congressional representatives and let them know how you feel about this one!


Cato said...

"...pregnant women CAN BE screened for mental disorders and new mothers CAN BE screened for 'postpartum depression.'"

I don't get it. CAN'T they be screened already? Does this bill suddenly enable mothers to be screened in ways they were not before?

Or does this mean women now "WILL BE"?

Judy Aron said...

Well the bill itself does not go as far as saying screening will be mandatory - but many of us feel that it will be the end result.
The bill means to make grants available to set up screening programs and protocols, but doesn't set anything as mandatory.
So in all fairness I did not report it as "will be" because that is not exactly the wording of the legislation.

Lisa Giebitz said...

Um... maybe I'm missing something, but even if screening is made mandatory (as unlikely as that is), they cannot make a particular prescription drug mandatory.

Postpartum depression is a big deal. Antidepressants are not inherently dangerous when used correctly and for as long as they're needed. While they definitely won't "fix" the problem, they can alleviate the symptoms and help a woman cope while she adjusts to her new situation and levels of hormones with the help of a therapist. Hopefully, the condition only lasts up to a few months, so the medication would only be taken for a few months.
(I feel that while pharmaceuticals can help with the symptoms of mental issues, therapy is needed for any long-term healing.)

What's more dangerous than antidepressants is the fact that many women try to deal with postpartum depression all on their own, and end up just suffering needlessly. Or worse, they spiral down into postpartum psychosis and can end up doing something terrible to themselves or their children.

Frankly, I think every doctor (and husband, and friends, and...) should be paying attention and watching for the signs. If this bill ends up helping women with postpartum depression get holistic treatment, I'm all for it. Even if it just helps take away some of the stigma attached to it, that' s a good thing in my mind.

Judy Aron said...

Don't think that it is unlikely that screening will be made mandatory - they already require it in Illinois.
States are already developing protocols.

No one drug would be required - but drugs may not always be the answer either and it is already being shown how dangerous anti-depressants can be to prenatal as well as postpartum women.

I am certainly not disputing that this affliction exists - nor am I saying the signs should be dismissed, but I don't believe that every woman should be screened and I certainly do not think it is wise to start medicating people especially when it is unknown what the effects will be on the fetus or on postpartum women.

These anti-depressants are already being shown to have disastrous effects on kids, and I have a subsequent post which shows this. There is reason to believe they can be just as bad for everyone else, if they are not prescribed properly, administered properly or weaned off of properly. Bottom line is that they screw with your brain chemistry.

Quite frankly all I think this bill does is to throw government money towards grants that ultimately enhance the profit margins of drug makers.

Hormone changes, lack of sleep, lack of good nutrition and lack of solid family support is not going to be fixed by taking a pill.

I agree with you that a better holistic approach has to be delivered via better education to women and their families.

Cato said...

Thanks for the clarification.

Another dangerous threat to Americans. Like C.S. Lewis said, "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences."

K said...

Don't be so sure that the drugs won't be made close to mandatory either. In the interest of protecting the children of course. From what I understand, there can be ramifications if you get a prescription for a child and choose not to fill it or not to use it. It's not a far step from that to the same being true of the mother.

Susan said...

I'm afraid Illinois is smack dab in the middle of this quest for -mandated- and universal mental health screens.
Illinois does screen all children who are in the system through governmental aid, et al. New Jersey screens all pregnant women and new moms.

There was an IL bill this year to mandate mental health screenings for ALL pregnant and new moms. It didn't pass as presented. The bill was presented with the best of intentions. But the ramifications are scary...especially for homeschoolers who are already under the illogical gun of 'socialization' issues.
I listened to the IL Senate Public Health Committee testimony of a mother who had suffered from post-partum depression and been institutionalized. The drugs (a gallon sized baggie worth) did NOT help. The expertise of a mental health institution did NOT help. As a matter of fact, she found that if she left the hospital, the doctors could report her to DCFS and her children could be taken away. (She had a very supportive husband who was also looking out for the best interests of their family.)
If you read Melanie Blocker-Stokes' mother's testimony, you will see the same problems. Maybe the 'experts' couldn't diagnose post-partum depression, but they were definitely treating a psychosis with their drugs and therapy. It didn't help even though her family sought help.
Holistic help is good.

Now what will happen when this 'help' (meds or otherwise) is mandated for everyone? Trouble for many, that's what will happen.

As Judy said, federal grants are what these governmental entities are after. They admitted writing state legislation to fit the federal governmental criteria of the New Freedom Commission in an Illinois hearing.

Unfortunately, the bureaucrats are after the money. Others are after control. Just as with many other issues of governmental involvement, the real issue: Help for post-partum depression goes by the wayside.

Sorry this is so long, Judy. You already know I have a BIG concern about this.

Psychdata said...

Right on, this is a very, very dangerous bill and needs to be stopped at all costs.

Don't let the pleasant-sound, altruistic title fool you: This is a naked, grotesque attempt by the drug lobby to push more Strattera, Prozac, etc. on moms.


Monty said...

Hello Ladies,

Im doing a radio show tonight in Tampa Florida regarding this bill and the fact that I am not okay on it getting passed... The reasons have basically been well covered above by all of you... You can listen in on the internet and call in if you would like to speak yur mind. I would love that. This is not a joke or a prank. Got to and click on the listen live button to hear it. It will be Sunday the 30th at 9:00pm EST and is for an hour. I would appreciate your support as we seem to be on the same page concerning this issue. Thanks - Monty

Amy Philo said...

URGENT!!!! The MOTHERS Act is set to pass in the Senate either tonight or some time this weekend. We need to all CALL the Senate TONIGHT and FAX TONIGHT

A matter of life and death

Please go to to get a pdf you can print and fax as well as a 3 page list of all 100 Senators' contact info!!!!!

Amy Philo,
Zoloft Survivor