Bill Would Encourage Postpartum Depression Research
The House on Monday voted 382-3 to pass a bill (HR 20)that would authorize $3 million in grants in fiscal year 2008 to studythe causes and treatments of postpartum depression and postpartumpsychosis, CQ Today reports (Armstrong, CQ Today, 10/15).
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), also would provide grants through HHSfor the "establishment, operation and coordination of effective andcost-efficient systems for the delivery of essential services" forwomen with the conditions and their families. The measure initiallywould have directed NIHto conduct research on postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis,but a House subcommittee in July approved an amendment that changed thelanguage from "directed" to "encouraged." The bill would authorize"such sums as necessary" to continue the research for FY 2009 and FY2010 (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 9/28). According to the Congressional Budget Office, the measure could cost $15 million over five years if grants and other programs in the bill are funded (CQ Today, 10/15).
The bill also encourages the National Institute of Mental Health,NIH and the HHS secretary to carry out a national campaign to increaseawareness and knowledge of postpartum depression and postpartumpsychosis, the AP/Google.comreports. The measure also includes language that calls for a study intomental health issues related to abortion and miscarriages. Rep. JosephPitts (R-Pa.), who opposes abortion rights, said that althoughpostpartum depression is a serious disease, it is "just as important toknow the effects of adoption, miscarriage and abortion in order toproperly help women" (Abrams, AP/Google.com, 10/15).
According to a CDC study, about 18% of women experience depression after giving birth. The Senate has introduced a companion bill (S 1375)that does not contain abortion-related language. According to a Rushaide, Rush's staff will speak with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.),sponsor of the Senate legislation, about making his measure moresimilar to the House bill. Rush said, "No longer will postpartumdepression be dismissed as mere 'baby blues'" (CQ Today, 10/15).
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