House Rejects Study With Ties To Scientology

WUIS University of Illinois NPR News/May 23, 2013

The Illinois House on Wednesday rejected an attempt to take a closer look at the field of psychiatry and its role in shaping Illinois law. As Brian Mackey reports, the sticking point for some lawmakers was a group backing the proposal.

As the field of psychiatry publishes its first new diagnostic manual in more than a decade, it's been attracting a lot of discussion.

The House resolution would have created a task force to comb through thousands of pages of Illinois laws and regulations, looking for the influence of psychiatry that "may have been recently discredited."

Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago, says she just wanted to start a conversation about psychiatry.

"We've seen the headlines in the newspaper about doctors over-medicating adults, as well as children, because there's money involved," Flowers says.

But Rep. Ed Sullivan, R-Mundelein, told fellow lawmakers one of the groups supporting the effort is backed by the Church of Scientology.

"I bring this up because my family has some issues - has had some exposure - with the church of Scientology," Sullivan says. "And without getting into details, it hasn't been very good."

The final vote was 22 yes - with the majority, 92, voting no.

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