Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Vetoes Mental Health Bill At Request Of Scientology

CommunicatorIC

@IndieScieNews on Twitter
This is interesting. The post is below is by the Ring of Fire website. One of the hosts of the Ring of Fire show is Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. You will recall that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. recently supported the efforts by the Church of Scientology and the Nation of Islam to defeat the mandatory vaccine law in California.

Ring of Fire: Scientologists Feared Texas Law Would Result in Them Being Institutionalized, Forced Governor to Veto It

https://www.ringoffireradio.com/201...institutionalized-forced-governor-to-veto-it/

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A Scientology-backed anti-psychiatry group influenced Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) decision to veto a heavily-favored mental health bill, reported RawStory. The reason the group was so concerned about the passage of the bill is that it would have permitted mental health professionals greater ability to temporarily hold individuals for psychiatric evaluation if the individuals are a potential danger to themselves or others. Members of Scientology obviously feared this would include every one of its members.

Senate Bill 359 was heavily-favored on both sides of the aisle in the Texas state legislature and passed through both chambers with ease and little debate. Several mental health experts and law enforcement officials testified in support of SB 359. However, Gov. Abbott shocked lawmakers with his surprise veto of the bill.

Despite being supported by lawmakers, one group in particular expressed staunch opposition to the bill, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a group founded by the Church of Scientology and led by its lobbyist Lee Spiller. After Governor Abbott vetoed the bill, he was invited by Spiller to a social engagement. “Please pass on my warmest regards and sincere thanks for upholding individual liberties and restoring my faith in our constitutional form of government,” said Spiller’s message. “Please consider yourself invited to our office, and any event we hold, any time.”

Scientology groups are beginning exert influence in government branches, and that’s scary. Considering the church’s reputation for harassment, bullying, and manipulation, government is the last place for them to have influence.

About the Author
Joshua De Leon
Josh de Leon is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.

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Another article by the website for Ring of Fire Radio:

Is It Possible the Current Governor of Texas is Actually the Craziest Ever?

http://www.ringoffireradio.com/2015...ernor-of-texas-is-actually-the-craziest-ever/

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Abbott’s cult leanings became apparent recently when he vetoed Texas Senate Bill 359. This law would have allowed law enforcement to arrest and detain a person suspected of being mentally ill and potentially violent. It would have given a qualified physician the authority to hold that person for psychiatric evaluation. The Dallas Morning News described it as “legislation that can save lives, save money and improve safety in communities.” Had such a law been in place elsewhere, it might have prevented last week’s tragic shootings.

This bill was supported by the conservative legislature and law enforcement as well as the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians. Governor Abbott stated that his reason for vetoing the legislation was based on “constitutional concerns.” Apparently, detaining a potentially violent mental patient for medical and psychiatric evaluation is tantamount to false imprisonment.

The Constitution had little or nothing to do with it. The group that lobbied against the bill is known as the “Citizens Commission on Human Rights” (CCHR) – the lobbying arm of the Church of Scientology. This organization’s holy mission is to abolish the practice of psychiatric medicine around the world. In many ways, the CCHR is like the proverbial Devil who can quote Scripture to suit his purposes. On the surface, the organization addresses some legitimate concerns. These include over-reliance on psychoactive prescription medicines and the fact that psychiatrists are not required to do medical testing on patients in order to rule out physiological factors that may cause erratic behavior.

It is this type of superficial rationality that makes the CCHR so dangerous. Dig beneath the surface, and you’ll find the kind of far-out conspiracy theories that would make The Twilight Zone seem like Bill Nye The Science Guy in comparison. Of course, in the end, it’s all about money and control. Legitimate psychiatry is in direct competition to Scientology’s profitable “Dianetics” programs. Unlike the latter, however, psychiatry is based on scientific research. Dianetics is based on science fiction.

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CommunicatorIC

@IndieScieNews on Twitter
Fort Worth Weekly: Crazy Capital, U.S.A.

http://www.fwweekly.com/2015/07/29/crazy-capital-u-s-a/

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Scientologists don’t believe in mental illness. Otherwise, they’d all be locked up. They also have a long history of dodging taxes and abusing, bullying, and harassing anyone who opposes them, shaping laws to fit their bizarre worldview by dipping into their Scrooge McDuck-like lakes of cash. And in Texas, money talks –– even if the people handing it over think that a crude lie detector can exorcise your childhood traumas.

During committee hearings in both chambers, a range of mental health advocates, medical groups, and law enforcement officials testified in favor of the legislation. The bill sailed through the House and Senate with little debate and only a handful of negative votes.

Intended to provide a window of protection for doctors who sometimes find themselves choosing between illegally holding mentally ill patients and letting them leave with the real possibility that they might be a danger to themselves or the community, the legislation would have allowed hospitals to retain patients for up to four hours, allowing law enforcement to arrive and evaluate the situation.

But led by church lobbyist Lee Spiller, the Scientologists shouted down the law. In e-mails obtained by the Texas Tribune, Spiller wrote to first lady Cecilia Abbott, asking her to “please pass on my warmest regards and sincere thanks for upholding individual liberties and restoring my faith in our constitutional form of government.

“I have not forgotten about your last message,” he added. “Please consider yourself invited to our office, and any event we hold, anytime.”

He then asked to set up an “informal coffee … with a few close friends.”

So the first lady is having coffee with a group of people who believe an alien overlord named Xenu dropped frozen aliens from all over the galaxy into volcanoes on Earth before their souls eventually found their ways into the bodies of early humans. And now doctors have to release mentally unstable patients, even when doctors think those patients will do harm to themselves or others. Make sense? It doesn’t have to. We’re in Texas.

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CommunicatorIC

@IndieScieNews on Twitter
Texas Monthly blogger Erica Gridder, conveniently ignoring other evidence that Texas Governor Gregg Abbott is a paranoid conspiratorial nutcase (e.g., his response to Jade Helm), as well as the actual evidence discovered by the Texas Tribune, attempts to debunk the theory that Gov. Abbott vetoed the mental health bill at the request of Scientology front-group CCHR.

Abbott and the Scientologists

http://www.texasmonthly.com/burka-blog/abbott-and-scientologists

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Apparently it’s easier than I thought to get a conspiracy theory started. I’m referring, of course, to the idea that Texas Governor Greg Abbott is in cahoots with the Church of Scientology, which was picked up by the national press, in the guise of Newsweek, earlier today.

This rumor arose in relation to Abbott’s veto of Senate Bill 359, which would have given hospital staff—doctors and whatnot—the ability to detain patients for several hours, if personnel deemed them a threat to the public safety. For emphasis, let me say that again: as far as I can tell the rumor arose in relation to Abbott’s veto, not as a result of it; the veto statement was issued on June 2nd. The proximate cause of the conspiracy came on July 14th, about six weeks later, with a curious story in the Texas Tribune that heavily implied it was the opposition of the Church of Scientology, via a shell group masquerading as a human-rights outfit, that spurred Abbott to veto the legislation, which had sailed through the Lege without difficulty. On July 23rd, the editorial board of the Dallas Morning News chimed in, and now here we are.

My take is as follows: Come on. Abbott is a Catholic. If I had to guess he probably thinks less of Scientologists than of LULAC (another group that opposed the bill). He’s also an attorney who spent twelve years as attorney general of Texas prior to becoming governor and, as such, is probably familiar with the intermittently discouraging reality that even if someone is mentally ill, their civil rights can’t be arbitrarily abridged, despite the fact that their concerned loved ones might wish the opposite could be allowed, and despite the fact that many doctors would be glad to appropriate as much authority over other peoples’ affairs as the state would grant them. Occam’s razor, people.

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elwood

Patron with Honors
This is Abbot's office's response to my e-mail questioning his decision:

Thank you for writing to the Office of the Governor about Senate Bill 359.

Governor Abbott vetoed SB 359 because it raised serious constitutional concerns and would have laid the groundwork for further erosion of constitutional liberties. Medical staff should work closely with law enforcement to help protect mentally ill patients and the public. But just as law enforcement should not be asked to practice medicine, medical staff should not be asked to engage in law enforcement, especially when that means depriving a person of the liberty protected by the Constitution.

Rest assured, Governor Abbott’s decision was based on concerns over protecting personal freedoms.

Please let us know if we can assist you in the future.

Sincerely,
Dede Keith
Deputy Director
Constituent Communication Division Office of the Governor


My understanding from other sources is that Abbott felt that the Legislature was walking into a constitutional minefield. The opposition from CCHR and the other crazies was not the major factor in his decision.
 

Little David

Gold Meritorious Patron
This is Abbot's office's response to my e-mail questioning his decision:

Thank you for writing to the Office of the Governor about Senate Bill 359.

Governor Abbott vetoed SB 359 because it raised serious constitutional concerns and would have laid the groundwork for further erosion of constitutional liberties. Medical staff should work closely with law enforcement to help protect mentally ill patients and the public. But just as law enforcement should not be asked to practice medicine, medical staff should not be asked to engage in law enforcement, especially when that means depriving a person of the liberty protected by the Constitution.

Rest assured, Governor Abbott’s decision was based on concerns over protecting personal freedoms.

Please let us know if we can assist you in the future.

Sincerely,
Dede Keith
Deputy Director
Constituent Communication Division Office of the Governor


My understanding from other sources is that Abbott felt that the Legislature was walking into a constitutional minefield. The opposition from CCHR and the other crazies was not the major factor in his decision.
So does the Governor think that a psychiatrist putting a person on a hold who is a danger to self and or others is "engaging in law enforcement" instead of "practicing medicine"?
 

elwood

Patron with Honors
So does the Governor think that a psychiatrist putting a person on a hold who is a danger to self and or others is "engaging in law enforcement" instead of "practicing medicine"?

I'll ask him the next time I see him. I admire the way you couched your opinion as a question and I think the answer is: "Yes".

Caution: Speculation Alert! The legal question seems to be: "who has the authority to detain a person for any reason". Apparently, Abbott, who is the ex-Texas Solicitor General feels that charging a medical professional with this responsibility is not a good idea and may raise both personal liability and constitutional issues. Remember, we now live in a society where individual rights trump (no pun intended) possible danger to others.
 
I'm perplexed by the governor's veto of this bill and a bit surprised that Texas did not already have a law to cover this mental health situation. I live in California and this exact legal situation is covered by what is known as "Welfare and Institutions Code Section 5150" which allows either a peace officer or a mental health professional to place a person who appears to be a danger to themselves or others on a 72 hour hold for further psychiatric evaluation. This is not law enforcement. It is a health care issue with respect to the person being evaluated and it is a public safety issue with respect to other people who might be injured by the person in question. Would a mentally ill individual suffering a psychotic break be better off being thrown in jail to control their behavior or being placed on a 72 hour hold in a psychiatric facility where there a medical professionals trained to help them? I've had this very section of law applied to myself years ago and I'm glad it was in place. It may be that it saved my life. If nothing else, this experience at least entitles me to an opinion on the issue.

Maybe I'm just getting old and cynical, but whenever I see a politician do something that just doesn't make sense like in this case, I'm inclined to follow the money trail. I wonder if Texas publishes a list of donors to the governor's last election campaign.
 

CommunicatorIC

@IndieScieNews on Twitter
This is Abbot's office's response to my e-mail questioning his decision:

Thank you for writing to the Office of the Governor about Senate Bill 359.

Governor Abbott vetoed SB 359 because it raised serious constitutional concerns and would have laid the groundwork for further erosion of constitutional liberties. Medical staff should work closely with law enforcement to help protect mentally ill patients and the public. But just as law enforcement should not be asked to practice medicine, medical staff should not be asked to engage in law enforcement, especially when that means depriving a person of the liberty protected by the Constitution.

Rest assured, Governor Abbott’s decision was based on concerns over protecting personal freedoms.

Please let us know if we can assist you in the future.

Sincerely,
Dede Keith
Deputy Director
Constituent Communication Division Office of the Governor


My understanding from other sources is that Abbott felt that the Legislature was walking into a constitutional minefield. The opposition from CCHR and the other crazies was not the major factor in his decision.
I'll ask him the next time I see him. I admire the way you couched your opinion as a question and I think the answer is: "Yes".

Caution: Speculation Alert! The legal question seems to be: "who has the authority to detain a person for any reason". Apparently, Abbott, who is the ex-Texas Solicitor General feels that charging a medical professional with this responsibility is not a good idea and may raise both personal liability and constitutional issues. Remember, we now live in a society where individual rights trump (no pun intended) possible danger to others.
The idea that a psychiatric hold for a maximum period of four hours based on the decision of a psychiatrist or other medical doctor presents a "constitutional minefield" is simply wrong. California has a 72 hour psychiatric hold statute. Many other, if not the majority of, states have similar statutes for periods longer than four hours.

The Governor's response that such a four hour psychiatric hold asks medical staff "to engage in law enforcement" is ignorant. Such a hold is not a criminal matter, but instead civil. The person is not being arrested for a crime.

What is particularly idiotic is the necessary implication of the spokesperson's analysis. That is, that a four hour psychiatric hold would be fine if the decision was made by a police officer who was not a licensed psychiatrist or other medical doctor, and didn't have any psychiatric or other medical training. Yeah, that's a great idea, and would not raise any constitutional issues. :duh:
 
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