Republican Senator Coburn Denies Mothers Assistance For Postpartum Depression

Republican Senator Coburn Denies Mothers Assistance For Postpartum Depression

Sen. Menendez, author of MOTHERS Act, decries obstruction

Washington - Today, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez took to the Senate floor to attempt to break a Republican blockade of his legislation that would combat postpartum depression, but a Republican Senator working as a surrogate for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) raised an objection, thus denying relief for hundreds of thousands of mothers who suffer from the condition each year. Sen. Coburn has used his Senatorial prerogative to place legislative holds on hundreds of bills, including the MOTHERS Act.

"Hundreds of thousands of women across the country suffer at the hands of postpartum depression every year, and they deserve better than the ideological games being played with legislation intended to bring them relief," said Senator Menendez. "This is a cause I am committed to seeing through, and I will continue to stand up on behalf of mothers suffering from this condition until the blockade is cleared."

Among the MOTHERS Act's champions is former New Jersey First Lady Mary Jo Codey, a leading advocate for postpartum depression awareness and treatment.

The legislation would increase federal efforts to combat postpartum depression by:

  • Coordinating and continuing research to better understand the causes of, and treatment for, postpartum conditions. Also, supports a National Public Awareness Campaign to increase awareness and knowledge of postpartum depression and psychosis.
  • Creating a grant program for the delivery of essential services to individuals with postpartum depression.
  • Conducting a study on the benefits of screening for postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis.

It is estimated that postpartum depression (PPD) affects from 10 to 20 percent of new mothers. In the United States, there may be as many as 800,000 new cases of postpartum conditions each year. The cause of PPD isn't known but changes in hormone levels, a difficult pregnancy or birth, and a family history of depression are considered possible factors.

Groups supporting the legislation:

Postpartum Support International
Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
American Psychological Association
American Psychiatric Association
Children's Defense Fund
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
March of Dimes
Mental Health America
American College of Nurse Midwives
National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Suicide Prevention Action Network USA
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs
National Partnership for Women & Families
OWL- The Voice of Midlife and Older Women
National Women's Law Center

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