In this time of focus on healthcare reform, there are many reasons to educate yourself about legislation presented to Congress – especially when it comes to healthcare for new mothers and infants – our nation’s most critical social dyad.
This is especially true when arguments against lifesaving legislation – the initiatives of The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act - are not grounded in fact and desperate scare tactics are being used to frighten the very population the bill is designed to help –mothers suffering from postpartum mood disorders. Such misrepresentations have the potential to derail the long awaited deliverance of help which could reverse and end such suffering….which affects over 800,000 women a year.
The detractors are crafty. Notice they don’t offer a link to the actual language of the bill on their websites, because if they did…. readers would quickly discover that The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act does not promote medication, in fact, it specifically does NOT fund medication. Nor does The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act mandate screening.
In the light of day – these false arguments are easily refuted by simply reading the bill. Legislators and organizations confronted with these allegations do just that….they read the bill and then thankfully call to endorse it. You can read the long and reputable list of dedicated healthcare organizations that have reviewed The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act in my previous posts - they know it’s exactly what we need NOW.
But in the murky waters of the internet – where those lacking healthcare expertise and appropriate education can operate as covert authorities - such misinformation can feel true, especially when propelled by a well-funded anti pharma machine designed to thwart passage of any legislation that might include medication. Which The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act does NOT!
So for those of you wondering what to believe when confronted by the minority who oppose this bill through video, blog and ideological distortion, here’s what you can do. Do what the senators on the H.E.L.P. committee are doing right now. READ THE BILL
Then go back and take a look at these misguided arguments which fail to associate a single allegation with anything that is actually in the bill. This group is really angry about medication, psychiatry and the whole concept of postpartum depression. Some of them had very difficult experiences for which they have my sympathy and understanding. But attempting to deny others access to the lifesaving maternal healthcare offered by this bill speaks to a far more sinister perspective of denying the issue exists. They want you to think they know better than you, that they have access to the “real intent”. You’re the naive constituent drawn to the seductive promise of increased funding for postpartum depression research, education and access to help! Thankfully, they are a tiny minority.. but they are a noisy one, so beware!
If you investigate the easily traceable background of some of these individuals, you may find associations with institutions ala the early Tom Cruise way of thinking (for which Tom apologized). They are anti pharma and anti psychiatry no matter WHAT the issue. They seem blind to the very real need to comprehensively address this public health crisis of maternal depression.
They will not be there to help you when you are going through the ravages of PPD, but they want to deny you access to the full range of choices that can lead to your recovery.
The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act will help provide support services to women suffering from postpartum depression and psychosis and will also help educate mothers and their families about these conditions. In addition, it will support research into the causes, diagnoses and treatments for postpartum depression and psychosis.
There is nothing in this legislation that forces women to be screened for postpartum depression.
There is nothing in this legislation that forces that women take drugs for postpartum depression.
Treatment options are best left as individual decisions made between caregiver and client. The bill does not cover, encourage or subsidize the use of medications in any way. The grant is intended to cover therapy or counseling, but would not cover medications.
Lacking arguments of any substance, these groups have resorted to attacking the motives and ethics of the many respected national organizations and individuals who promote the legislation, attempting to “out them” as having some ulterior motive in supporting the bill’s passage. These are the desperate tactics of a group who know their arguments lack a truthful basis and who rightly fear such tactics will fail.
The truth is that the supporters of this legislation are among the most respected, dedicated, altruistic, intelligent and amazing individuals I have ever met. They are admired educators, authors, healthcare providers and achievers. They are mothers and families who have lost loved ones to these illnesses. They are mothers who are suffering right now and praying every day that our country will do something to prevent despair. They are women like Mary Jo Codey and Carol Blocker – Melanie’s mother – who have devoted their lives to promoting this bill. They are public and private advocates who want to stop the suffering. They are powerful legislators like Senator Robert Menendez and Congressman Bobby L. Rush, whose reputations and careers merit our highest regard. And they are you and me and every stakeholder who has ever been a mother or a child.
The antipharma fight has gone on for years – it’s nothing new that was inspired by this legislation. Of course there are people for whom medication does not work. This is true with every medical condition known to man. So should we suspend medications just to spite “big pharma” for not producing the one size fits all silver bullet? Shall we just let millions of cancer patients, diabetics and severely mentally ill people languish in preventable misery? Should we ignore what research tells us about the life saving powers of every medication from penicillin to Prozac?
The most egregious aspect of these misrepresentations is the further victimization of suffering mothers by playing on their fears with falsehoods. What could possibly be the motive in predicting such a dire outcome for such a well meant initiative? When we pass The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act, women in all economic and social strata in every state across the union will be able to find the help they need to return to health. How can one possibly distort this transparent intent?
So please add your name to the rapidly expanding list of state by state supporters at www.perinatalpro.com And then ask three more people to do so as well. Call members of the senate H.E.L.P. committee whose names and phone numbers are listed in my previous article. Truth has always been the most powerful advocate.