Donate Now!

Donate Now!
Buy a membership or koozies to help!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Melanie Blocker Stokes and other things to think on

I have been getting a lot of emails regarding the Melanie Blocker Stokes Bill or the Mother's Bill or S. 324.

So I went and read it.

The bill itself, in it's wording, doesn't mandate that new mother's take a test so that their child can be released to them. But I do have issues with this bill. Any Government ran program that dictates a private sector and rewards them for doing exactly what they want, usually find us in a mandatory volunteer situation. Those of us that have been fighting NAIS know this from all of our struggles. The USDA had "bribed" or giving money to organization such as FFA and 4-H to promote and mandate the use of the chips.

Now you have a bill that on the surface reads quite helpful. We need to help mom's that are struggling with PPD. However some people think that women with PPD will kill their children. We just need one institute to feel this way before it becomes a mud slide. This agency or private hospital will receive more grant money to determine this, and another hospital will see this happening, and they will increase the pressure on their patients to comply with this study, thus receiving more grant money. Paranoid much?

In 1883 a Man by the name of Sir Francis Galton coined the phrase Eugenics, with the definition of “study of agencies under social control that may improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations, either physically or mentally.” Sir Francis was encouraged to follow in his uncle's footsteps and become a Doctor. He severally disliked the medical field, but studied it anyway, until he had a nervous break down. Once his father died he stopped attempting to become a doctor and became a mathematician. His study of eugenics was purely statistical.

Sir Francis believed that a wide range of human characteristics were inherited, including mental, physical, and moral traits. At the time Darwin had proven (or theorized) how man, despite his relative complexity as compared to plants and most animals, was still evolving. Because of this, Sir Francis reasoned that humans could be controlled and manipulated so that the next generation would be of higher stock. He concurred that “all creatures would agree that it was better to be healthy than sick, vigorous than weak, well-fitted than ill-fitted for their part in life; in short, that it was better to be good rather than bad specimens of their kind, whatever that kind might be. So with men.


He gathered these "traits" in a questionnaire called the Record of Family Faculties. This questionnaire was sold to the general public at cost. If the public filled out the survey and returned it they were eligible to win 500 pounds prize money. The survey consisted of a variety of questions about themselves and their family over the three previous generations.

He also established an Anthropometric Laboratory at the International Health Exhibition in 1884. Nine thousand individuals volunteered.

In the 1908 publishing of Memories he writes that the objective of eugenics “is to check the birth rate of the unfit, instead of allowing them to come into being, though doomed in large numbers to perish prematurely. The second object is the improvement of the race by furthering the productivity of the fit by early marriages and healthful rearing of their children."

During the turn of the century Eugenics was at full speed. In 1914, some 30 states in the US had either created or restructured marriage laws. “Three-quarters of the statutes declared voidable the marriages of idiots and of the insane, and the rest restricted marriage among the unfit of various types, including the feeble minded and persons afflicted with venereal disease.

by 1917 sixteen States had adopted sterilization laws. These laws were made possible by federal statues that gave states the power to sterilize a wide variety of people. These included criminals, epileptics, the insane, and the mentally ill in state institutions. Iowa went so far as to mandate the sterilization of twice-convicted sexual offenders, thrice-convicted other felons, and of anyone convicted just once of involvement in white slavery.

In the 1930's Howard Hale, a Candy store owner recalled how state sterilization authorities would literally round up whole “misfit” families. What was wrong with these families? They were on welfare.

In 1933 the Nazis's took eugenics and ran with it, thankfully altering the public thoughts on Eugenics.

What started out as a study, eventually turned into so much more.

Now I am not saying that this bill will become greater than what it is. There is a fear among women however that it will become the new eugenics. This bill is something that should be watched, and carefully scrutinized over.

6 comments:

Melonie said...

Wow - thanks for the heads up. The ways that this could be abused by those in positions of power and authority - as well as powerful agencies - is just mind-boggling. I'd *like* to think it wouldn't happen......but I also never imagined our country would be the way it is today. As a mother who had PPD (and actually peri-partum depression) with her first pregnancy and had no problems with the second..... the ramifications and abuses of something like this aren't a big mental leap for me. No pun intended on the "mental" part. ;-)

Phelan said...

I too would like to think that this will never happen. Unfortunately I am a daughter of history, and fear that we don't learn from our past. The possibility of abuse is there, as in most bills as well as our own personal rights. Anything can be abused to fit our own needs and propaganda, which I am sure some will see my post as such, my personal agenda. Although it is more of a history lesson and a pinpoint of personal fears. To fight a cause, we must know the history, and acknowledge were our fears come from. And from the post against this bill that I have read, their fears (although not stated outright) seems to be eugenics as they understand it to be.

I too am a mother that suffered from PPD. Meds did nothing for me, but my cows made a world of difference. A lot of what I am reading is that people fear this is a push to force more meds on women. Thus I bring you back to Eugenics and sterilization.

Now I might be rambling. Just waiting out a storm. (really a weather phenomenon, not arguments, though I welcome those as well)

Jessica said...

What good would it do to test the new mother at the hospital, anyway? My PPD never hit until months after childbirth, when all the adrenaline was gone and the sleep deprivation had built up for a good long time. How many mothers would register as anything other than "tired" in the short amount of time most women spend in the hospital after delivery?

Phelan said...

True. It would do little good if administered right after birth. They might be able to pinpoint other potential mental illness in the time span however. And most of us at one time or another have filled out a form with our entire medical history, including our parents. With our medical records being computerized it will be easier to diagnose potential mental illnesses including PPD. With any case study there will be follow ups with the volunteers. My concern is that woman that are vehemently against this bill, will not seek help for fear that their children will be taken away.

Phelan said...

If interested, here is Melanie's story, and why this bill was passed in the House.

Annette said...

From what I have seen, society has not learned from history and are repeating it. =(
My dad often preached to plan for what people are capable of, not what you think they will do. I have already contacted my reps and voiced an opinion and request that this not be passed. Thank you for keeping me in the loop! =)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...