MOTHERS Act Information

Check out this blog containing extremely relevant information on The MOTHERS Act!

First watch the short video at the top of the blog. If you click it twice, you will be taken to YouTube where you can rate it, comment on it, post it on your website, help get the word out, etc. Then read the information on this bill, and send a quick email to your elected officials (Congressman and Senator) using the TAKE ACTION links.

The points are simple:
The Mothers Act is a bill which will increase mental health screening of pregnant women and new mothers, despite the fact that the widely accepted treatment for women diagnosed with postpartum depression is antidepressant drugs — documented by the U.S. FDA to cause worsening depression, mania, psychosis, suicidal and homicidal ideation and birth defects. There is no language in the bill that would assure mothers are given non-drug options or accurate information about the subjectivity of the diagnoses (a checklist of questions) or the documented risks of psychiatric drugs. This violates informed consent and puts new mothers and their infants at risk.

Doctor Tells Pregnant Mother Effexor is Safe For Pregnancy, Baby Born With Birth Defects

SSRI Birth Defects” The Only High Risk Factor I had Was Being on Effexor”

January 15, 2009. By Lucy Campbell

Regina, SA : Pam was told by both her family doctor and her obstetrician that the antidepressant she was taking, namely effexor, was safe for her to continue taking through her pregnancy. But within hours of her son being born, he had been admitted to the natal intensive care unit, suffering from seizures and breathing difficulties.

“My son had a smooth delivery but within 5 hours of being born he began to have agitation seizures and trouble breathing,” Pam said. “I was told he was showing withdrawal symptoms. He was put into neo natal intensive care for 10 days. He was suffering from tremors and having difficulty getting enough oxygen. They had him on different stabilizing medications and oxygen and continued to monitor him, and he had another seizure 5 days later. He came home 10 days later.

Shortly after we brought our son home we noticed early symptoms of cerebral palsy – he was not able to raise his head, and there were other tell-tale signs. A year later he was actually diagnosed with cerebral palsy. He’s now three-and-a- half and he’s in a wheelchair, he can’t hold a crayon to draw, or speak properly. The only high risk factor I had was being on the effexor.”

Pam was taking half the regular daily maintenance dose of effexor (also called venlafaxine) during her pregnancy. “I was told the risks were minimal – that the baby may have short term effects like tremors and withdrawal symptoms,” Pam said. “Since his birth, I’ve done a lot of reading and it seems that seizures do occur, although it’s rare. But I was never told that.”

SSRI Birth Defects

Pam was pregnant and saw a specialist in 2004, and gave birth in April 2005. But it wasn’t until December 2005 that the first public warnings emerged from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the potential for serious heart defects in babies born to women taking selective serotonin uptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants during pregnancy. Most recently, a study published in the November 2008 issue of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology reported a 3 times greater risk for heart defects in babies born to mothers taking either Prozac (fluoxetine) or Paxil.

While the potential for infant heart defects are the primary cause of concern with SSRI use during pregnancy, they are not the only potential birth defect. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that women who took SSRI antidepressants in their third trimester delivered babies who were 6 times more likely to have primary pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), or developing a lung disorder, than babies not exposed to SSRIs. And there are also reports of abdominal birth defects, cranial birth defects, club foot, neural tube defects, and Anal Atresia, a congenital malformation of the anus.

“I’m sure that effexor is something pregnant ladies should not be on unless it’s really, really necessary,” Pam said. “I’m kind of angry that I wasn’t warned that the risks were in fact higher than I was led to believe: I would have stopped using the antidepressant. I really think more women need to know about this. I don’t know how many women may be affected – but even the woman in the hospital bed next to me, when I had my son, was on an antidepressant.”

Mercy Cancels Today’s Shock of Ray Sandford

MindFreedom International – 28 January 2009
Ray Sandford Alert Update #12 – Please Forward

Postponed at the last minute!

“It was a miracle,” says Ray.

Today’s involuntary outpatient electroshock
for Ray Sandford for today, 28 January 2009,
was POSTPONED, with Ray in the waiting room.

During this delay: How you may easily and peacefully protest
Ray’s future forced electroshock from wherever you are.

Ray Sandford’s forced electroshock today was postponed today.

As has happened many times before, early this morning Ray was woken
up in his assisted living home and escorted to a psychiatrist’s
waiting room at Mercy Hospital north of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

As he often does, Ray complained about his physical health. In the
past his complaint has not made a difference. This time it did.

A medical staff person told Ray his involuntary electroshock was
canceled that morning, citing Ray’s physical health as the reason.

Ray returned home and called the MindFreedom office, saying, “It was
a miracle. They were ready to go. I was sitting in the hallway where
you wait. There’s a big picture of one of my former doctors on the
wall that I was looking at. I was twiddling my thumbs. And someone
came out and said, ‘Oh by the way you’re not going to get ECT today.’
As far as I am concerned that was a miracle. I was prepared for the
worst. I am delighted.”

It’s not over yet, of course. Ray is supposed to have a check-up next
week to see if his forced electroshocks may be rescheduled.


Background on today’s “miracle” [updating Alert #11]:

Ray Sandford was scheduled for another involuntary electroshock
today, Wednesday, 28 January 2009, just north of Minneapolis,
Minnesota, USA, all funded by taxpayer dollars.

After more than three dozen forced electroshocks, Ray knows the drill.

Last night, staff prepared by removing all of Ray’s food from his
mini-fridge in his basement room in a small assisted living home
called “Victory House” in Columbia Heights, Minnesota. This is
because Ray is not supposed to eat for a number of hours before
anesthesia is administered.

Early this morning Ray was woken up extra early, and an escort
brought Ray the 15 miles north on streets near the Mississippi River
to Mercy Hospital, in Coon Rapids, Minnesota.

Ray’s mental health workers always manage to find an escort for Ray’s
forced electroshocks or psychiatrist visits.

On the other hand, a few days ago Ray said he had to miss a dental
appointment that was supposed to help with his severe teeth problems,
because no attendant could be found that day.

Since Ray’s campaign started, an attendant is required to accompany
Ray any time he leaves his home. MindFreedom volunteers have been
banned from visiting. One such visitor, a disability advocate, even
had her employment threatened after Ray’s “helpers” filed a complaint
with her employer for bringing Ray to a Minnesota center for
independent living for people with disabilities.

Ray says that once more, the waiting room of his electroshock doctor,
Bernard M. Coelho, MD, at Mercy Hospital was full with about 10
patients who Ray believes are also scheduled for electroshock. Giving
multiple electroshocks on the same morning is a common practice,
sometimes called a “Shock Mill,” and can be very lucrative. Mercy
Hospital is owned by Allina Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota.

In the past, Ray has complained about various physical ailments that
he felt should cancel his electroshock. “They would just bring me
into Dr. Coelho’s office, and he would say I could have the
electroshock anyway.”

This time Ray brought up the fact that about two weeks ago he had
been brought to Regency Hospital by ambulance because of physical
complaints. Lab tests said his ammonia levels were too high, and he
brought this up today.

This time, Ray’s electroshock was called off.

If it had gone forward, Ray would have laid in a bed and felt an
injection as anesthesia and a muscle paralyzer administered to
suppress muscle writhing. Ray says Dr. Coelho would then runs
electricity through Ray’s brain, inducing a convulsion.

Ray calls the MindFreedom office almost every day, including just
before and just after his forced electroshocks. He says forced shock
is always scary, that it’s harming his memory and ability to
concentrate more and more.

Ray is asking us all to peacefully protest his ongoing forced

The nightmare of involuntary electroshock over the expressed wishes
of the subject has happened regularly since the very first
electroshock in Italy in 1937. But now the atrocity of forced
electroshock has climbed over the institutional walls, and is out in
our towns and cities, in our neighborhoods and homes.

Do not let this become “normal.”

Do not wait to see your neighbor escorted out into some early winter
morning for this.

Do not wait for that to be you.

MindFreedom reminds everyone that Ray’s campaign is nonviolent. Ray
values his religious principles, and MindFreedom has strict
nonviolence guidelines.

If you communicate with any potential opponent, please be strong but
civil. Anything else can be used against Ray.

Here are a few easy ways you may protest Ray’s electroshock from
wherever you are:


*** ACTION *** ACTION *** ACTION ***

Please forward to all appropriate places on and off Internet.


1) Protest to Richard Pettingill, Chief executive officer (CEO) of
Allina Hospital and Clinics:

Ask that your civil verbal protest be placed in Ray Sandford’s
medical record using their online web form:

Sample message (your own words are best):

“Dear Mr. Richard Pettingill:

“I request that my message be placed in the permanent medical record
of your patient Ray Sandford, who states that he is receiving ongoing
involuntary electroshock at Mercy Hospital administered by Allina
psychiatrist Bernard M Coelho, MD.

“While you cannot violate the privacy of a patient, I ask that you
respond in general about your policy of allowing involuntary
electroshock over the expressed wishes of the subject.

“Whether or not you feel this is legal, it is unethical, immoral and
traumatic to everyone in mental health care.

“The reason(s) I protest this forced electroshock are:

“My name and contact information: _______”

You may also try to phone Mr. Richard Pettingill’s office at
612-262-0601 or 612-262-5000.

UPDATE: Dr. Coelho direct phone number listed on the Allina web site
is 612-264-4379. However, for a while this phone number was
disconnected. If it does not work, you may try to leave him a message
at the above numbers, or Mercy at 763-236-6000.


2) Bishop Mark Hanson of the Lutheran Church

While the Lutheran Church is not directly in charge of Ray’s
electroshock, they are supposed to help “guard” Ray, they are
supposed to care deeply about social justice, yet they are not
supporting Ray’s campaign to end his forced electroshock.

The six Minnesota Synods of the “Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America” [ELCA] — which is the largest Lutheran denomination in the
USA — own Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota [LSSMN], which is
Ray’s court-appointed general guardian.

ELCA and LSSMN have refused to speak out for Ray.

MindFreedom has been in touch with the office of Bishop Mark Hanson,
who leads ELCA. Bishop Hanson asked Ruth Reko, ELCA’s Director of
Social Ministry Department, to respond to MFI. Today, Ms. Reko told
MindFreedom, “Supervision is not a concept we enter into with
affiliates like LSSMN or our 299 other social service agency

Please ask Bishop Mark Hanson, to encourage ELCA, its Synods and its
agencies to engage in productive dialogue on human rights and mental
health, especially involuntary electroshock.

Please e-mail to Bishop Mark Hanson here:

Sample message (your own words are best):

“Dear Bishop Hanson:

“Please engage in dialogue about human rights and mental health. I am
not saying ELCA is directly in charge of anyone’s forced
electroshock, but ELCA could take a stand against it. In the name of
social justice, ELCA ought to have more oversight over its affiliated
social service agencies that receive taxpayer funds to guard clients.

“Your name and contact info: ___________”

You may also try phoning Bishop Hanson or Ms. Ruth Reko by calling
(773) 380-2700, wait for an attendant.


3) Engage your local religious organizations in dialogue on human
rights and mental health

Ray has given us all an opportunity to encourage our local faith-
based communities to address the justice issues involved in mental
health care today.

Ask that your local church, synagogue, mosque, etc. find a way to
raise issues about human rights and mental health.

Those in the USA may also seek to engage in dialogue with
participants and leaders in your local ELCA church, which you may
easily locate here:


Please act today!

Because of today’s cancellation, MindFreedom does not know when Ray’s
next scheduled electroshock may be. It could be as early as 4
February or 11 February.


Minnesota Nonviolent Protests for Ray

Several individuals and groups in Minnesota have told MindFreedom
they would like to help support and attend peaceful protests on
behalf of Ray in Minnesota.

Several MindFreedom members have even said they are willing to travel
from out of state and from out of the country to participate in

MindFreedom will broadcast more information as it is received.


How to do and learn more on the Ray Campaign

For links to latest news, Ray Campaign blog, to hear the NPR radio
story on Ray, and read Frequently Asked Questions about the “No More
Shock For Ray Campaign” go here:

To further participate in the MindFreedom campaign to support Ray,
current MindFreedom members are invited to get on the very busy
MindFreedom “zapback” e-mail list about electroshock, here:

If you are not on the MindFreedom-News alert list and wish to be, sign up for this free non-profit public service here:

Prayer For Relief: California Mother Seeks Whereabouts of Mental Patient Son


Prayer For Relief: California Mother Seeks Whereabouts of Mental Patient Son

by Amy Philo, 214-705-0169, 817-793-8028

“My son wrote poetry, did recitations and impersonations, artwork and sketches. He loved reading the Bible. I drew strength from his courage and resilience in the face of all of this. He cared about people. He wanted to make something of himself. My son could read at two years old and now he mumbles.”

Redlands, CA / Tuesday, Jan. 27 / — In a state which has become emblematic of progressive values and civil rights, Enne Currie sits tonight, praying for a just result at tomorrow’s mental health court hearing. A paralegal, Currie has filed numerous legal documents trying to force the system to abide by its own principles. Among these are a demand for information on the whereabouts of her son, Dirul Lewis, a Writ of Habeas Corpus, and various objections to the outrageous abuses being committed for profit or retaliation.

Lewis has been a mental patient for many years. Enne says that Dirul’s doctors experimented on him with drugs known to cause lethal interactions, including Zyprexa and Loxapine. A recent combination of drugs given in the hospital drove Dirul into a temporary coma. This combination was one that Enne, as Dirul’s conservator, had expressly objected to, but which the doctors administered anyway.

Despite over 17 years of attempts to get her son the best care possible, the mental health community continually failed Dirul. Currie even filed a lawsuit seeking to protect her son’s rights and health, but the case was dismissed because she was representing Dirul on her own.

About two weeks ago, Dirul Lewis was moved by his captors in the mental institution to an undisclosed location, and Currie’s conservatorship was cancelled. No hearing or reason was given. When Currie objected, she says she was ignored or dismissed with comments like “He’s been in this system for a long time.”

Enne recalls nursing Dirul as a child until he weaned himself, and says she believes that is how he managed to survive so many years of damaging treatments. Some time prior to his court-sanctioned disappearance, Enne noticed Dirul’s eyes go empty, like he no longer recognized her. Tonight, Enne doesn’t even know whether her son Dirul is dead or alive.

UNITE requests that anyone knowing the whereabouts or condition of Dirul Lewis immediately inform Enne Currie by writing to or calling 909-384-2104.

For more information on tomorrow’s hearing, please contact Enne, or check for updates.


The MOTHERS Act – Trolling for Mental Patients at a Maternity Ward Near You


The MOTHERS Act – Trolling for Mental Patients at a Maternity Ward Near You
by Amy Philo, 214-705-0169, 817-793-8028 

If you’ve never been “Teen Screened” in high school, quizzed by a college counselor about your potential perfectionism, mood swings, or alcohol use- or told you might go crazy if you don’t start taking drug x, consider yourself among the fortunate, fading few. The “New Freedom Commission on Mental Health” is in the pipelines, and its legislative engineers have the route all worked out. Their first stop? Our very own births.

Those elderly men of the U.S. Senate who normally spend their days pushing legislation are trying to create a new niche – “saving” birthing mothers of America from the ravages of “mental illness.” Imagine yourself (or your significant other) pushing a baby into the world in a hospital somewhere in America, only to be greeted by a friendly, neighborhood-psychological-screener the very moment baby begins munching down on his first meal. “Would either of you like a DSM-IV Mental Disorder diagnosis code with that milk?”

That frightening image isn’t too far off from what you, today’s youth, might expect to happen by the time you deliver your first child. And if Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Harry Reid (D-NV), or Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) have anything to say about it, that nightmare could come true even sooner.

Since Summer 2001, the mothers and babies of America have been threatened by a bill called The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act. This Orwellian, pharma-friendly legislation is named after a mother who committed suicide at 3 ½ months postpartum. Melanie Stokes was “treated” with almost everything the mental health industry can offer. Start with drug cocktails, throw in electroshock and hospitalization. Increase the electroconvulsive sessions and switch meds abruptly several more times. These “treatments” worked so well for Melanie that she jumped from the window ledge of a 12th story Chicago hotel room.

The MOTHERS Act seeks to screen all pregnant and new mothers in America for being “at risk” of mental disorders based on a few subjective questions, and then funnel them into what its proponents consider preventive “treatment.” It was reintroduced by Menendez and Durbin in the Senate this January, with support from “Senate leadership.” And in the House, where it passed in 2007, Bobby Rush is trying again. The bill died last session, despite Harry Reid’s attempt to pass it in a failed $10 billion omnibus bill containing dozens of different programs. This session, we may not be as lucky.

One cosponsor of the bill from the 110th Congress is now President of the United States. Another is Secretary of State. And Majority Leader Harry Reid now enjoys a much larger majority in his voting caucus, which could help him overcome any potential filibuster in the Senate.

The House should have no problem passing this bill if old habits continue. They’ll just announce the name of the bill and vote to pass it… as though this bill concerned which flavor cigar to pass out at that night’s happy hour, instead of a program affecting every new family in the country.

The exact screening questions to use on those pregnant moms and zero or two-day-postpartum women with suspected “Post-Partum Depression” or other “mental disorders” are still being worked out somewhere in the back rooms of Congress. But do you want to know if you could be the next contestant on The Price On Your Life Is Right?

Here are just a few examples of items on the checklist used to determine if you’re considered “at risk” for “perinatal” mental disorders:

  •       People have told me I’m a perfectionist.
  •       During the past year, I have experienced an unusual amount of stress (ex: move, job loss, divorce, loss of loved one).
  •       I have a history of severe PMS.
  •       I have a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
  •       I have been a victim of the following: physical assault by someone I know; physical assault by a stranger; or, physical assault during this pregnancy.

Did you answer yes to any? Congratulations! You are officially at risk for mental illnesses! You might want to go get a sample pack of whatever your doctor’s favorite psychotropic drug of the month is, and fend that garbage off!

What those old Senators and Reps don’t tell you is that with programs like this MOTHERS Act in place, not only could the member of Congress get more huge campaign checks from large pharmaceutical corporations, but as an added bonus, the mothers and babies of our great country get to be exposed to drugs rivaling or surpassing Thalidomide in terms of toxicity, and LSD or cocaine with regard to the potential mental effects!

They don’t tell you that Andrea Yates was under the influence of several psychotropic drugs when she drowned her children. They don’t tell you that thousands of babies die or are born with life-threatening birth defects each year because of SSRI antidepressant exposure. Yet they want more of our young mothers ingesting these drugs while pregnant and nursing?

Passing this bill and implementing a nationwide “mental illness” scaremongering campaign targeting hormonal, vulnerable pregnant and new moms seems logical to those who are currently taking cocktails of multiple psychotropic drugs at high doses. Or to those who haven’t yet learned to locate the FDA website for black box suicide warnings. Or to anyone who hasn’t grasped the concept that imprisoning mothers in hospitals against their will does not make them feel better. Or to those who think that electrocution is wrong if applied in the context of the death penalty, but electrocuting the brain of a mental patient is ok.

But to people like me, or my friends Julie Edgington, Mathy Downing, Kim Witczak, Jim Torlakson, Kim Crespi and Enne Currie, this bill flies in the face of not only reason, but morality. For it ensures that more families will suffer the same horrors ours have. Things we can never forget. For myself, being suicidal and homicidal after only three days on Zoloft. For Julie, having a baby with a rare heart defect who nearly died at birth. For Mathy, Kim W. and Jim, losing a child or husband to antidepressant-induced suicide. For Kim C. – twin daughters murdered by their father under the influence of Prozac. And for Enne, not knowing whether her son Dirul Lewis is alive or dead, even though his psychiatrist does.

This path paved in death and destruction is a road America must not travel.

For more information, go to


MOTHERS Act & Enne Currie, Dirul Lewis – UPDATE

First, an update on Enne Currie. We are still waiting for any information whatsoever on the whereabouts of Dirul Lewis, her son, who was illegally relocated by his captors in the mental health system with the support of the mental health court overseeing his case. Enne is fighting the courts to learn where he has been taken and regain her conservatorship status which was also illegally cancelled without a hearing or a reason. We will update everyone as soon as we get more information. 


Bobby Rush introduced The MOTHERS Act in the House of Representatives on January 6. Today Robert Menendez introduced the bill in the Senate. According to those pushing for the bill The MOTHERS Act also has support from “Senate leadership.”

The UNITE website is in the midst of being rebuilt but we are working on several projects to fight back against this bill and others which threaten the lives and health of innocent Americans. The archives of our website from the past two years have been temporarily published here in case you need to get back to some of that historical information on The MOTHERS Act. I hope to have the new site functioning as soon as possible.

Thanks to E.T. Cook & Associates for getting that site built and helping with the transition. Their time and resources were donated for our cause and the people of America are definitely worth it!

Robert Menendez states in his press release that The MOTHERS Act was close to passing last year, but failed because of one Senator. (Way to ignore the tremendous grassroots efforts of all the Americans who called, faxed, and pounded the pavement traveling to DC to protest this killer bill, Bob!) But when it comes right down to it, close call or not, the truth of the matter is that without railroading legislation through in the dark of night in omnibus bills or voting on this without a debate (as the House of Representatives did), nightmares like The MOTHERS Act would never see the light of day in the U.S. – at least not from any Congress concerned with the well being of innocent citizens. 

The blessing of a few months of extra time without a MOTHERS Act has certainly helped prevent untold numbers of deaths and much unnecessary suffering- and for that, the mothers and children of America owe a debt of gratitude to each and every Senator who voted against cloture for Harry Reid’s Omnibus bill (containing The MOTHERS Act) last Summer.

In light of all the negative press for pHARMa and psychiatrists, criminal convictions against people involved in some of these illegal marketing schemes, billions of dollars in criminal penalties against Lilly for Zyprexa, all the proof of the deadly effects of psychotropic drugs for babies and mothers, and the documented conflicts of interest among those pushing for The MOTHERS Act, I find it amazing that at this point in time, any U.S. Senator has the audacity to promote this bill or anything like it.

I pray that some day soon these politicians will wake up and realize how much harm is caused by psychotropic drugs and electroshock, and that they will stop supporting programs that would certainly bring about more and more deaths of innocent American women and children.

Please – help by spreading our petition around the country and the world. It will take a huge united effort to beat this bill, and your help is needed now more than ever.