H.R.20: Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act passed this week in the House of Representatives and is headed to the Senate.
Many people fear H.R.20 would require that all mothers would be screened for postpartum depression shortly after the birth of their child. The screening could consist of a list of questions designed to see if a mother is fit to take her newborn child home from the hospital, but what exactly would be asked in this multiple choice questionnaire and would it be mandated?
The Health Freedom Alliance explains:
The bill authorizes health care workers to screen mothers for post partum depression and offer them “help” in dealing with and overcoming it. A scenario is easily developed where a family is denied the ability to take their child home after a hospital birth because a mother failed to answer a series of subjective questions on a multiple choice test correctly. Or even worse chose not to vaccinate their new born with deadly toxins. Of course, that denial to take your baby home can be overcome if you just take this little pill here and agree to in home monitoring until you are pronounced OK. Think on this: Do you have any idea how hard it is to be declared sane after being declared unsane?
Postpartum depression is a serious illness that affects 12 to 20 percent of women, especially teenage mothers, mothers with less education, and those with a history of depression. Would a screening questionnaire given before a mother left the hospital really be effective? How quickly do the effects of postpartum depression show up?
H.R.20 was first introduced in 2007. It was reintroduced in January of this year. Like many bills, it is well intentioned: “To provide for research on, and services for individuals with, postpartum depression and psychosis,” but would it mandate mental health screenings? In reading the text of H.R.20, I find nothing about mandate screening. The Mothers Act does include, “(3) The development of improved screening and diagnostic techniques,” but nothing about mandated screenings. I think the fear lies in the section on grant recipients:
(b) Certain Activities- To the extent practicable and appropriate, the Secretary shall ensure that projects funded under subsection (a) provide education and services with respect to the diagnosis and management of postpartum conditions. The Secretary may allow such projects to include the following…‘(4) Providing education to new mothers and, as appropriate, their families about postpartum conditions to promote earlier diagnosis and treatment.
Would grantees be required to screen all new mothers they serve? Is that where the fear and paranoia are coming from?
If screening simply involves looking over a mother’s previous mental health history to see if she has experienced depression before and then providing her with support, then I see no harm. If all mothers are screened with a tool that considers choices not to vaccinate as a sign of mental health, then many of us are in trouble, however, H.R. 20 itself does not mandate such screening in all hospitals across the US.
Image: iandeth on Flickr under a Creative Commons License
This is totally outrageous. There is no way on God’s “green” earth this is a good idea. Did some idiot man come up with this or some stupid woman? There is ALWAYS harm in letting the gov’t decide ANYTHING for you.
This sounds like excess, for sure. On the other hand, to say that it is wrong to have ANY government involvement in regulating social behavior, is also wrong.
It checks and balances that allow society to advance and to carefully choose a path that will be successful and protect the rights and happiness of individuals.
The government already meddles far too much. I know first hand what the Department of Health and Human Services will do. Even if it is not mandated, the fact still remains that failure to comply with taking the test can be reasoned into being a red flag. No harm you say, well, when the red flag is raised and the Department of Social Services is contacted because a new mother is refusing to take the test I guarantee you that a Social Worker will be paying the new mother a visit and a case will be opened (and once a case is opened they do not have to expunge it regardless of its injustice or inflamed accusations).
Hands down this is terrifying. I have already made mention of this to my local NAMI office (National Alliance on Mental Illness http://www.nami.org/ ) and recommend that anyone reading this do the same in your area. Once they decide that you are at risk, if you are not wealthy or educated, they will force-feed the services which in turn validates their next paycheck. I am outraged!
Jennifer Lance says
I wonder how could affect homebirths. Would pediatricians be responsible for referring homebirth mothers when newborns are brought into their first visits? Midwives?
panamenaii, you say that the government already “meddles” far too much. My original comment said that this particular measure does seem to be over the top. However, hating government is in the end self-destructive. The government is there for the benefit of those who are weaker. Seat belt laws, drunk driving law, building codes, etc, etc, are all valuable.
For example, State Farm Insurance refused to pay the medical bills when my second son was born. It was outrageous, since such payments were mandated by state law. I got nowhere with them until I went to the State Insurance Agency and complained. I was paid three days later with an apology letter. Government has its place, but individuals need to be alert to prevent excess by government.
We have also seen excess by drug companies and corporations, haven’t we? It seems clear that excess in either direction is an error.
David, I agree with you in that government is needed as well as hating government is self-destructive. It is not government that I fear but rather misuse by individuals for self-gain. Sure, HR20 is drawn up with the intent to help those in need… but is not the road to Hell paved with good intentions? Those that are given the power will always abuse it even under the pretense of “its for your own good”.
North Carolina, for instance, has a statute which allows anyone who works for the Department of Social Services to purger themselves in a court of law if they believe it in the best interest of the child without penalty! Combine that with HR20 and you have a huge window for corruption.
Again, I do not hate government as that is rather a silly thing to do in my opinion. I do, on the other hand, fear what individuals will be able to do within the system with the use of HR20 as an excuse if nothing else. If you take a closer look, all States get matched Federal funds for every child that they take into the system of foster care. Add that to a State like South Carolina, who’s welfare funding is collapsing and social workers are made to take mandatory days of leave without pay… well, surely you see what I am getting at… individuals are what I fear… especially when it comes to their lively-hood versus my family’s safety. I already know how that turns out as social workers will not speak against corruption for fear of loosing their jobs… even when they know that what is transpiring is unethical or even illegal.
Hope that clears up my point for you David. Hr20 will give too much power to individuals within the system without any external oversight and any time a group is allowed to govern itself corruption is sure to follow (did you know that in both North Carolina and South Carolina each county can set their own guidelines for medicaid eligibility as well as other Federally funded plans and that the State level can not make an individual county conform to the State mandates).
Reading this article again, I conclude that I don’t have enough information yet to have a strong opinion about H.R.20. Jennifer points out that mandated testing does not appear to be part of the bill. It appears to me that the motivation for the bill is to prevent child neglect due to depression, which is a problem. Would the cure be worse than the problem? Some people clearly feel that way. As far as immunizations, that opens a giant can of worms into a complex issue of public health vs individual choice, and the risks of immunization.
I think painting this as either a Fascist power grab, or an innocent totally beneficial measure, would be painting over the many factors that go into crafting a bill like this one.
Oh, and panamenaii, thank you for explaining and clarifying your “position”. We seem to agree on the overall goals. I am not as convinced as you are on the danger of the bill, but we certainly agree that there is a time and place for government — just not EVERY time and place!
Seems to me this is very similar to “Teen Screen” in that it’s a way to drive business to the psychs and psychopharmaceutical companies. More and more money is spent advertising psychotropic solutions… Screen ’em, route ’em, medicate ’em. I wonder how those companies are doing in these economic times. Bet their profit margin is up.
how about the fact that ppd doesn’t usually come to light until about 2 weeks after brith… this screen would fail 95% of the time. or how about the fact that health and human services doesn’t have enough people to follow the current issues or that dcfs can’t manage it’s own work load. it wouldn’t pass.
Amy Philo says
Even though we got the langauge removed from the bill from last year that stated all mothers would be screened, this bill is still incredibly dangerous. Please see:
Conspiracy Fact-Checker says
This is the psychiatric industry partnered with corrupt members and agencies of govt and the soulless drugs companies which are sure to hook more innocent people on their drugs. These people are pure evil let their be no mistake about it.
These people know their product causes damage yet they still push it out because BILLIONS is being made. They are pure evil and they will be stopped. There is an awakening happening and people are getting angrier and angrier. It’s going to get very ugly for these criminals very soon. At the end of this I only see shame on the family’s of the guilty.
As a justice major at EKU I have to ask that if they if they make these screenings apart of prenatal care then what would happen if you refuse to consent on the psych screening? The reason i say this is because it could easily be interpreted as not getting proper care, thus giving the state to the authority to intervene (they could lock you up and take your kids).
P.S. And in response to Debbie: Yes it was a man that came up with this, his wife suffered from PPD so he had her medicated, institutionalized, electrocuted and then she killed herself.
This bill is outrageous! To mandate a “screening” for PPD and refuse to let the Mother take her child home if she does not comply is government intruding into personal lives! What are they going to do next, mandate that a new Mom recieves some kind of anti-fertility drug after she gives birth to her first child? Or that an infant must recieve the birth dose of the Hepatitis B vaccine before the parents can take the baby home?! This is pure evil!
Tina Dole says
I’m researching what a dual diagnosis treatment is. Can anyone provide any information on this? I haven’t really been able to find a whole lot.