An attempt by Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, to add language to the omnibus spending bill in Congress to require parental consent for any mental-health screening done to children with federal money has failed.
The language was proposed to blunt the effect of a program proposed by the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, which President Bush established in 2002. The New Freedom Initiative recommends screening not only for children but eventually for every American.
As WorldNetDaily reported, in September Paul attempted to have the program removed from Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations Act. His amendment failed the House of Representatives by a vote of 95-315.
The language he hoped to have added to the omnibus bill, which passed on Saturday, was:
“None of the funds made available for State Incentive Grants for Transformation should be used for any programs of mandatory or universal mental-health screening that performs mental-health screening on anyone under 18 years of age without the express, written permission of the parents or legal guardians of each individual involved.”
Though Paul had support from House leadership for the language, senators who were part of the conference committee overseeing the final bill did not want it added.
“We believe the drug companies and the psychiatric establishment convinced Sens. Arlen Specter and Bill Frist to block it,” said Kent Snyder, executive director of the Paul-founded Liberty Committee. “We are extremely disappointed that the conference committee ultimately rejected Dr. Paul’s language and that it was not added to the omnibus spending bill.”
Critics of the mental-health screening plan say it is a thinly veiled attempt by drug companies to provide a wider market for high-priced antidepressants and antipsychotic medication, and puts government in areas of Americans’ lives where it does not belong.
Snyder says Paul won’t give up on thwarting the screening and will take up the issue again in January when the new Congress convenes.