Senate Bill Proposes to Screen and Medicate Mothers

Senate Bill Proposes to Screen and Medicate MothersBy Ann Shibler Published: 2008-03-13 18:24 Email this page printer friendly version

ARTICLE SYNOPSIS:Called the MOTHERS Act, S. 1375 seeks to encourage and implement education, screening, health services, and anti-depressant medications for mothers-to-be or new mothers for post-partum depression, all according to the dictates of the federal government.

Follow this link to the original source: “MOTHERS Act Seeks to Drug Expectant Mothers with Anti-depressants to “Treat” Postpartum Depression”

COMMENTARY:Here’s another fabulously clever way for the government to have more people drawn into its clutches through a nationwide screening program, this time focusing on post-partum depression. And it is brought to you by the very busy and liberal Senator Robert Menendez, (NJ), and co-sponsored by Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Introduced in May 2007, and presently lodged in the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, S. 1375 would provide the impetus and funds necessary to institute a program that would promote referral of mothers-to-be and new moms by nurses, doctors and mid-wives to “mental health care specialists” if they exhibit any signs of “mood disorders,” even if it’s during the pregnancy.

The bill is a bitter pill, but its language is unsurprisingly sugar coated:A bill to ensure that new mothers and their families are educated about postpartum depression, screened for symptoms, and provided with essential services, and to increase research at the National Institutes of Health on postpartum depression.

The use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of antidepressants — i.e., psychotropic drugs — would be recommended and administered as part of the “essential services” program. The effectiveness of SSRIs that include Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, etc., have been questioned. There have also been concerns about side effects from the drugs leading to violent behavior.

Most SSRIs carry black box warnings for “suicide” as a side effect, or even “homicidal ideation.” Obviously real physical and mental damage could occur in unborn developing babies if their mothers are coerced into taking these dangerous, addictive, and unpredictable drugs, not to mention to the mothers themselves. A popular opinion among medical caregivers these days is that “post-partum mood disorders” are a sign of an underlying biochemical imbalance, so the answer must be drugs. But many women report getting through their real post-partum depression with the love, help, and support of family and friends, and alternative methods. Some have discovered alternatives (scroll down toward the end) to treating post-partum depression that can be as simple as diet changes, supplements, or exercise.

The relative effectiveness of drug treatments for post-partum depression or for any other medical condition is not really the point, however. The real issue is federal involvement. A course of treatment should be an individualized arrangement formed through doctor-patient consultation. The federal government should not be involved, given the potential that Big Pharma lobbyists might well desire a program, such as the one proposed, because it would lead to lucrative sales. Not content with “mental health” screenings for school children and military veterans that have real and permanent consequences, now big government plans to intrude into the womb as well.Ann ShiblerAnn is the Editorial Assistant for the John Birch Society.

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