ACOG, March of Dimes, APA & Others Speak Out On Passage of MOTHERS Act

Below is anews release from Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), sent out today to inform the media about passage of the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act. I think you'll be pleased toread the comments made about this from such organizations as the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians& Gynecologists.

And can I just say how cool it is to be quoted in a news release from a Senator's office?!! And I'm not even a Democrat …


Leaders in the fight against postpartum depression are celebrating today as the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act — legislation sponsored by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) to combat postpartum depression — will become law as part of landmark health insurance reform that passed Congress last night. The legislation will establish a comprehensive federal commitment to combating postpartum depression through new research, education initiatives and voluntary support service programs.

"Millions of mothers nationwide who are suffering or will suffer from postpartum depression are among the winners as a result of the new health insurance reform law," said Senator Menendez. "These women understand that postpartum depression is serious and disabling, and that the support structure to help prepare for and overcome it has been woefully insufficient. We will attack postpartum depression on multiple fronts — with education, support, and research — so that new moms can feel supported and safe rather than scared and alone. I applaud the incredible group of advocates and inspirational women who helped this become a reality, I applaud Rep. Bobby Rush and Sen. Richard Durbin for helping to champion this cause, and I am absolutely thrilled that this will be the new law of the land."

"Finally, women all over the country are going to have access to the kinds of support services and information that women in New Jersey have had for a number of years," said Mary Jo Codey, former First Lady of New Jersey and leading advocate in the fight against postpartum depression. "And we're going to get more research into these insidious illnesses. This is what I'd worked and hoped for over a long period of time. I almost can't believe it finally happened!"

"We are so indebted to Senator Menendez and everyone on Capitol Hill who recognized that we needed to do so much more to educate women about postpartum depression, to ensure that healthcare providers are able to identify those who suffer and to provide sufficient resources and services for recovery in every corner of our country," said Katherine Stone, author of Postpartum Progress, the author of the most widely-read blog on postpartum depression and other mental illnesses related to childbirth, and a board member of Postpartum Support International. "We needed their help to raise awareness at the federal level and make this a healthcare priority, and they've done just that. There is no doubt that this new legislation will help save the lives of many new mothers and ensure that their families have a healthier start."

"The American Psychological Association applauds the passage of the MOTHERS Act, which will improve the health and well-being of approximately 800,000 women suffering from postpartum depression, as included in health care reform legislation. The MOTHERS Act will expand research, outreach and education to mothers, families, and health care professionals on this critical issue," states Gwendolyn Puryear Keita, PhD, executive director, Public Interest Directorate, American Psychological Association.

Susan Dowd Stone, chair of the President's Advisory Council of Postpartum Support International said, "Senator Robert Menendez, you are an unwavering champion of the women and infants you represent. Against all odds, you never once set aside this initiative. You are not just the Senator from New Jersey, you are the Senator of America's mothers."

Dr. Gerald F. Joseph, president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, applauds Senator Menendez' leadership in ensuring inclusion of the MOTHERS Act in health care reform, saying "This will ensure that women and their health care providers have the best tools available to identify and treat all women that suffer from the very real and often severe results of postpartum depression."

"Adoption of the MOTHERS Act is a positive development for women and their families," said American Psychiatric Association president Dr. Alan F. Schatzberg. "Now the many women who are suffering from postpartum depression will have the support needed to get the help for this treatable condition."

"As a nurse dedicated to caring for expectant mothers and their newborns, I applaud the passage of the MOTHERS Act. This legislation will provide much needed support services and education to women suffering from postpartum depression," said Karen Peddicord, CEO of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.

"Midwives are particularly sensitive to the need for support for mothers in the postpartum period and have long advocated for more intensive follow-up for all new mothers. We are so pleased by the passage of the MOTHERS Act which Senator Menendez has championed," stated Melissa Avery, CNM, PhD, FACNM, president of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

"The March of Dimes deeply appreciates the Senator's leadership on this important issue," said Marina L. Weiss, PhD, senior vice president of public policy and government affairs for the March of Dimes. "Postpartum depression is a serious problem that takes a toll on women and infants as well as on their families. The Senator's proposal, approved by Congress last night, will ensure that necessary resources are made available to promote early diagnosis and treatment of postpartum depression. The provision holds great promise for improving birth outcomes for women and children in every state across the nation."


Remember when we did this?

Orwhen you decided to participate in this? And this?

How about this?

Because of those things, and the hard work of so many,you were able to accomplish this.

WAY TO GO YOU!!!!!!!!!!

MOTHERS Act Passes in Senate Version of Healthcare Reform Bill

While most of us were focused on family and celebration during the holidays, the US Senate was sneaking by a Christmas Eve-morning-before-the-cock-crows vote on the Healthcare Reformbill. It passed.

As it turns out, the Melanie Blocker Stokes Mothers Act wasindeed among the provisionsin the bill that was passed. So, since the MBSMAhas now beenincluded in both the House and Senate healthcare bills, it looks like the act will pass if healthcare reform passes. No matter how you feel about healthcare reform, it would be a blessing to women aroundthe country if the MBSMAbecomes law. Thanks so much to Susan Stone for writing about this in detail at Perinatal Pro, forkeeping such close track of this important legislation and for being such a vocal proponent. Also thanks to Senator Menendez for never giving up on getting the MBSMA passed by the Senate, Representative Bobby Rush for getting it passed in the House and Carol Blocker for getting this all started in the first place.

Susan, and Helen Crawford, have been busting their assess getting as many signatures as possible in front of the Congress so that they can see how many people support increased research into the causes of postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis, and support increased services for women who suffer. If you haven't signed the petition yet, please do! Here's how to do it.

Women's Websites Push Back on Time Magazine's Take on MOTHERS Act

Here are some moreviewpoints on the Time magazine article on postpartum depression and the MOTHERS Act from some interesting women's websites and authors around the web:

Jezebel — where many of the commenters seem to be pretty informed, which is nice. One comment follows:

"I think you're jumping the gun by wondering if women will be given meds if they don't need them. It's better to make options available, and to destigmatize a relatively common problem, than to fear that a few false positives will ruin the whole program."

Sarah Mirk at Bitch Magazine, who points out:

"Time's story ignited the ire of many who argue that the article intentionally left out pro-Mothers Act voices to push an editorial agenda."

Blogger extraordinaire Catherine Connors of Her Bad Mother, Beliefnet, Mamapop, BlogHer and so many other sites:

"Doubting and shaming women who do struggle or have struggled with PPD serves no-one. Time should know better. Better than Tom Cruise, anyway."

Empowher with Susan Stone's piece

"The recent Time article which appeared, 'The Melancholy of Motherhood,' presents a thinly-veiled bias against life-saving legislation, the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act, which continues its steady march toward adoption …

Like the hapless person who comes between a dog and its bone, the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act has become the pawn of frustrated antimental health and antipharma factions. Having lost too many ill-fought battles (thankfully, science, medicine, clinical practice and research still trump hysteria), they have seized upon this benign and life-saving legislation to vindicate their rage. But the argument fails to stick because the Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act doesn’t mandate screening or subsidize the medication that appears to be the primary issue of protest."

And Dr. Shoshanna Bennett responds as well here, including this tidbit:

"The MOTHERS Act is about education and research, not medication — contrary to the fear mongers' rhetoric. The portrayal of the issue in the Time article was not only misleading to the public, it was inaccurate on many points."

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