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Treatment or Torture?; Scarred for Life
Aired April 19, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.
A special needs boy is shocked 31 times. We`re going to discuss, is this treatment or torture? I`ll weigh in.
Plus, an obsessed admirer ends Marla Hanson`s modeling career by hiring thugs to slash her face. Why do men target and destroy beauty?
And later, this is the show your kids are obsessed with. It`s MTV`s "Teen Mom," and the moms have become celebrities. Farrah Abraham takes your questions right here tonight.
So, let`s get started.
PINSKY: A teen with mental and behavioral difficulties is allegedly shocked into a catatonic state by a treatment center because he reportedly refused to remove his jacket. Tonight, a jury is pondering whether that facility is guilty of negligence, as video of the incidents -- there we go -- shared in a Massachusetts courtroom.
Now, we obtained some of that footage from My FOX Boston. Of course, I want to warn you this footage is disturbing, but we`re going to take a look at it.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
PINSKY: OK. An expert testified that the teen fell into a catatonic state after being shocked over 30 times. Those are some of the burns I believe from the shocking. Now, look, from the -- of having been shocked.
A couple things I want to say about this story. One, please do not confuse what is going on here with shock therapy, as some people think about which is a treatment for depression where people are put asleep and electrical current is run through their brain. That is different.
This is a behavioral modification technique. And this is a complicated story. The fact is, please stop that. Thank you.
The complicated story, and the fact is that this is an attempt to reduce medication use. These are desperate and aggressive interventions. Not malice.
The point is this is a complicated issue. It`s easy to look at this video and go, oh my God, how is that possible? Maybe after I`m talking tonight, we`ll still feel the same way, but it`s complicated.
So, how do we protect these kids without hurting them, without administering tons of medication, without putting them in seclusion or restraint? How do we protect them from one another? There was an article in the "L.A. Times" this week that talk about similar circumstances, where patients are killing other patients because the staff doesn`t have adequate means to restrain them.
Joining me: Georgianna Kelman, an attorney who advocates for children with special needs. She, herself, is a mother of a special needs child.
Ken Mollins is an attorney who represented the family that settled out of court with the treatment center in question.
And Brian Joyce is a Massachusetts senator fighting to ban the use of shock therapy.
Brian, you say this is flat-out torture. Tell me why?
BRIAN A. JOYCE (D), MASSACHUSETTS STATE SENATOR: Well, it really isn`t as complicated as you suggest, I`d say, respectfully. It is, indeed, torture. It`s been ruled so by the United Nations. It`s based largely on a discredited, I say, barbaric practice -- a pseudoscience from 50 or 60 years ago -- the same practice that was used to treat homosexuality in the 1930s and deaden hogs prior to slaughter.
Since 1971, when this facility opened as the Behavioral Research Institute, some Orwellian sounding name that since changed -- it`s the Judge Rotenberg Center -- six children their care have died. There are absolutely no peer-reviewed medical journals of science to suggest that this so-called aversive therapy treatment is effective for long term behavior modification.
And truly what goes on behind the walls of the JRC is barbaric. And I`m delighted -- it`s disgraceful what`s going on -- but I`m delighted that the public is finally viewing this. We`ve been trying to shut this town for over a dozen years and people before me --
PINSKY: Senator, that`s confusing. I`m listening to you very carefully here. You said there`s no peer-reviewed research to show alternation of long term behavior. This does not look a long term behavioral intervention technique. It looks like a very short -- acute term behavioral adjustment.
And my question is, your other attorney is shaking his head. But that`s what it looks like to me. My question, this is an FDA-approved intervention. Where`s the FDA ring in on all this?
JOYCE: Let me address that. First of all, it is not peer-reviewed. There is no long-term benefit.
One of your guests is from UCLA I think is where her degree. There`s a professor who looked at this and ruled that there`s no long-term benefit.
The science in early intervention has advanced extraordinarily in the last 50 or 60 years and yet this facility, which, you know, it`s making about $250,000 for each one of these children that they warehouse there, and it`s just -- they`ve spent $15 million over the past 10 years in legal fees and P.R. to try to keep this machine in operation. But really, we in government have a moral obligation to defend the defenseless.
And who`s more defenseless than the poor and the sick and the disabled? And here the disabled children at JRC in Canton, Massachusetts, it is indeed barbaric what goes on there.
PINSKY: Ken, I see you getting agitated at some of this conversation. Please ring in.
KEN MOLLINS, ATTORNEY FOR TEN SHOCKED AT TREATMENT CENTER: Dr. Drew, this is a house or a building full of terror. This can be deemed nothing else than terror. When somebody gets into this facility, they don`t leave. They don`t allow them to leave.
It`s called Judge Rotenberg Center. Judge Rotenberg who was the judge who authorized or allowed all this shock to take place. So, they named the center --
PINSKY: Gentlemen, I got to interrupt. I`m sorry I have to interrupt.
Where -- if that is true, where are the state regulatory agencies to intervene? Where`s the Department of Mental Health, where is JCO (ph)? Where are the organizations --
MOLLINS: They`ve done nothing.
PINSKY: Why haven`t they intervened if this is such a house of terror? Where have they been?
JOYCE: Let me speak to that for a moment. This facility opened in Riley (ph) in 1971. Riley kicked them out. They were kicked out of California.
I think Massachusetts, at this facility, it`s the only such place in the country and, indeed, perhaps the world. Were we to have caught Osama bin Laden alive, we could not have done this under international law. We can`t --
PINSKY: A guest in the studio wants to interrupt. I`m sorry.
She said there`s a facility in California. The exact same facility is here, is it not?
GEORGIANNA KELMAN, SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW ATTORNEY: There is a facility in California that sisters with this school.
PINSKY: I see.
KELMAN: They don`t employ the same electroshock treatment.
KELMAN: I don`t want to get too much into that, but it`s something that needs to be looked into as well. Aside from that, you asked the question, where`s the Department of Mental Health?
KELMAN: Where is the government?
The president was asked two years ago to look into this. One second.
PINSKY: Hold on, I have an attorney here who specializes in this area. She wants to comment.
KELMAN: The problem is, the reason why this is still open is the parents, themselves, that continually lobby. They`ve been investigated myriads of times since 1980.
PINSKY: Wait, but this facility we`re talking about that everyone taking aim at is a facility that prides itself in not using medication. Now, as a physician we take heat for using medication on cases like this.
So, this was not an alternative for that -- hang on, guys -- why is this not working out?
KELMAN: Here`s the thing. Philosophically, theoretically, this can work. There are children that have severe emotional disturbance. They cut off their ears. They break off their arms.
PINSKY: They kill other kids.
KELMAN: They kill other children.
In those severely extreme isolated circumstances, frankly these places are needed. However, I`m a mother of a child with special needs. And to be honest with you --
PINSKY: And you`re an attorney who represents special needs kids.
KELMAN: I represent special needs children. For this to be done to my child they`d have to electroshock me to calm me down.
PINSKY: OK. Fair enough.
KELMAN: But I get theoretically the need for extreme, extreme cases, because I have to --
PINSKY: This doesn`t look like an extreme, extreme case, though, does it?
KELMAN: No, absolutely not. But having said that, I think this case is criminal. I think it borders on criminal.
PINSKY: OK. Fair enough.
Ken, you want to ring in.
MOLLINS: I have asked the Massachusetts state attorney general to investigate this place criminally and the reason, the only reason why everybody is talking about this place now is because some judge in Massachusetts finally had the wherewithal to allow this tape to come out. And now, people can see how this kid is tied down. How this kid is held down.
Most of them are tied town with their face to the floor and they`re shocked over and over and over again, 30, 40, 50 times, hours after the behavior.
My client was shocked for telling a staff member no. Boom. He got shocked. He hit the floor. Kids sit there and watch other kids get shocked.
My client, today, is in the hospital because after we got him out of there, he relives the nightmare of what happened there every day. He`s in there for significant flashbacks.
This is a place, as you walk through the halls, the staff says, you can smell the skin burning. That`s what`s been going on here.
The Massachusetts legislature, other than Brian Joyce, has repeatedly stopped or interfered with this place being shut down. This place is a horror. It`s torture.
PINSKY: OK, Ken, Senator Brian --
JOYCE: Let me just add to --
PINSKY: You know, I`m out of time, Senator. I think we have walked through and got kind of a clearer picture of this. It`s a complicated topic. However, I have the three of you --
JOYCE: It`s extraordinarily complicated --
PINSKY: It is. So I don`t want people looking at the horror of what we watch and go, oh my God, this is obviously a bad thing, but after speaking with you guys, I think we can all conclude it is a bad thing in that particular case, at least.
PINSKY: I have to go, gentlemen. I`ve got to go ahead.
MTV`s "Teen Mom" Farrah Abraham joins me to take calls and responding to your comments as well.
And next up, former model Marla Hanson was slashed in the face after she had rejected the advances of her landlord. We`re going to talk to her about scorned men who take these awful measures against women.
Be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARLA HANSON, FORMER MODEL: He was giving me a lecture on "you reap what you sow" and I was nasty when I asked for the deposit money back.
REPORTER: Did he threaten you?
REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) you reap what you sow?
HANSON: Yes, he just said things come back to you. When you`re nasty to someone, they come back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Last April, a young mother in London had her eyes literally gouged out during a 12-hour assault by her ex-boyfriend who reportedly, had a history of violence. What kind of man does this awful stuff? And how do women get over it?
Here with a perspective: plastic surgeon, Dr. Mohammad Ali Jawad. He was featured in Academy Award-winning documentary, "Saving Face"; criminal profiler, Pat Brown; and former model Marla Hanson.
In the mid-1980s, Marla`s landlord hired two men to slash her face. Unbelievable. After the attack -- there she is after the attack. After the attack, he pretended to be her concerned boyfriend at the scene of the crime.
Marla, take us back to that time. I mean, you have this massive change in your life. How did you work through that?
HANSON: Absolutely. I think that it took me a very long time to understand that you can`t go back and get back what you`ve lost. And I think I spent a lot of time in recovery trying to do that. When I was finally told by a therapist that who you are is gone, and the sooner you let go of that and start to rebuild something new, the faster you recover. So that`s --
HANSON: If someone had told me that earlier on, I think it would have saved me a lot of years in therapy. But this woman --
PINSKY: As we say, you were ready to hear it then after all that therapy.
HANSON: I was ready to hear it. Right.
PINSKY: Right. Now, this guy, I guess that spent 15 years in prison, is that right? The guy that did this to you or orchestrated it?
HANSON: There were three of them.
PINSKY: My understanding is he actually moved back to your hometown after he came out of prison and now works as an assistant to a plastic surgeon. What do we do with that? To me that`s just so outrageous.
HANSON: So ironic, right? I was very surprised --
PINSKY: It`s more than ironic. I get disgusted when I see that. What`s up to the plastic surgeon that hires this guy? Does he not do a background check, or is this part of his giving back, to rehabilitate himself?
HANSON: I don`t know. He was told, I`m sure. I didn`t know until a TV station called and told me that he was, in fact, living in the town I grew up in in Kansas City. I don`t know if he`s still there. I don`t know really much. That`s an ironic twist in my story.
PINSKY: And, you know, Pat, one of the reasons I wanted to do this story was, we`ve been talking a little bit about the war on women with Jane Velez-Mitchell on this program. Do you have the sense of the kinds of men -- I know where you`re going to go, of course.
But let`s put it this way. If they`re all psychopaths -- I`m going to preempt you on this. How do we tell when we`re in trouble with somebody that has the potential to do this?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, Dr. Drew, I don`t know we can tell until it`s probably too late. We can tell early on that this guy is excessive in his desire for power and control. He`s a very manipulative person. That`s a person that doesn`t have our interests at heart, that doesn`t care about us or love us. We want to run away from that kind of person, because if you stay with them, it gets more and more obsessive.
And people will ask, why would a guy do this kind of thing? This horrible kind of thing. Well, it`s a part of sadism really, extreme power and control. Not only do you hurt the woman, but every day of her life, you know she`s suffering. That gives you a thrill.
Not only is she suffering, but every day of her life, I think Marla can say how hard this is not to do, you think about that bastard, shall I use no other words than this, who did that. He can retain the power of control because he knows he`s in your head forever and it`s really hard to knock out.
HANSON: It`s true. You develop against your will a relationship with your violator. And forever really.
BROWN: Yes. It works.
PINSKY: I`m so sorry. I`m so --
BROWN: That`s why they do it. It works.
PINSKY: Now, Marla, my question, I guess is, have you had to look at, or have you been able to heal your relationship with men?
HANSON: Trust is a big issue. I think that was probably the biggest issue in my recovery, being able to trust again. And feeling betrayed not just by the violation and the attack, but by the criminal justice system in the aftermath, and the media, sorry to say. But I felt like my life had been hijacked and trust has been an ongoing issue, I think, that I still probably struggle with to this day.
PINSKY: And can I say, I sort of -- I`m very co-dependent. So, I want to make you feel better. I want to say you look great. You really look great.
HANSON: Thank you.
PINSKY: You know, Tina Fey has got a scar on her face. No one ever notices it. You know what I mean?
HANSON: Really? I haven`t noticed her scar.
PINSKY: Well, you should meet her face to face. It doesn`t bother her a bit.
Now, Tina Nash was brutally beaten last year by her ex-boyfriend for 12 hours. Then after strangling her unconscious, he gouged her eyes out. Take a look at this. I almost don`t want to see it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TINA NASH, EYES GOUGED OUT BY EX-BOYFRIEND: I feel like a ghost. Like, you know, everyone around me, I can`t even see my hand in front of me face. I can`t even -- when I hear my kids, I can`t -- sorry. I can`t see their faces.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Marla, is your advice for this woman virtually the same as what you had to give yourself?
HANSON: I think it would be. Her situation, of course, is much more extreme than mine. I had a few cuts to my face. I think my recovery was more psychological and was more about the way I was treated and the prejudices I felt were directed at me in the aftermath.
And I don`t -- I hope she doesn`t have to confront that. She has enough with her physical injuries to deal with that I hope she doesn`t face the same kind of blame the victim prejudice that I had to face.
PINSKY: No, I can`t imagine that. But thank you, Marla. And thank you, Pat.
Doctor Jawad, we`re going to -- I`m going to get to you next after the break. We`re going to look at a clip from the Academy Award-winning documentary that you are a part of, "Saving Face." It`s about disfigured women he helped in Pakistan.
Stay with us.
PINSKY: Welcome back.
We`re talking about women who have been brutally attacked by men, often leaving them disfigured. My guest, Dr. Mohammad Ali Jawad, worked on the Academy Award-winning documentary "Saving Face," which profiles Pakistani women victimized by brutal acid attacks. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MOHAMMAD ALI JAWAD, PLASTIC SURGEON: The time is very short right now. She needs surgery. But there is only so much I can do.
I`m part of the society which has this disease.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My life is ruined. And nobody was punished at all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have proposed a law that will punish them with life imprisonment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I suggest there should be a death sentence. Ask the victims.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m really happy and I want to thank God because my wish is about to be fulfilled.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Dr. Jawad, I mean, obviously you filled a massive need for these women that they would not have had access to had you not gone and done so. But my question is, what did you learn about this thing we`re speaking about tonight where men attack women?
JAWAD: Just, I`m still in the learning phase, to be honest. I know in my medical studies, I`ve read about human behavior, and violent human behavior. And I`m also -- I`ve been providing health services for the last 30 years.
I do come across extreme cases of gender violence and man using some extreme wild activity against a weaker sex because they can and they can -- that`s how they can (INAUDIBLE). But I fail to understand to date what prompts these men to go into this toxic state of mind which they just become absolutely barbaric, inhuman, for people, other men who they love and desire so much, and now all of a sudden, there`s a complete turnaround to go after them and deface them, disfigure them.
This sadistic -- I, so far, to be honest, whether there`s a chemical imbalance or it`s due to drugs or alcohol or changes in behavior. But I think there`s no insanity here, that`s for sure, in my opinion. There`s an evilness in -- there`s something common among all this group of people. Not hundreds of them, but the few. And I think something triggers them, and then they just lose a balance.
PINSKY: Well, I just keep feeling disgust and anger and fury. And then I want to, like you -- I mean, I want to make the women feel better. You have done exactly that. Just hats off for your project. It`s just phenomenal.
Marla, I want to go back to you. I imagine you must have contemplated suicide at some time in all this. Is that accurate?
HANSON: Yes. I did, actually. I did. It took a number of years, but eventually I eternalized all the things that I`ve been through and reached a point of a sort of suicidal ideology.
PINSKY: And let me -- I`ve got only about 20 seconds left, but for people out there who may be feeling similarly, do you have any words of inspiration for them?
HANSON: I think the human mind is an amazing thing that gives you the tools you need to recover if you allow it and if you can reach out, and you can`t do it alone. I guess that`s what I want to tell people. And you need to reach out, find the resources that are there for you and begin --
PINSKY: That is a great -- the interpersonal solution, other people supporting you and helping you. I agree with that.
Marla, Pat, Dr. Jawad, thank you so much.
Coming up, MTV`s "Teen Mom" Farrah Abraham is joining me in the on call segment. Also, you guys have a big reaction to the earlier story about the 18-year-old who were shocked, calls on that after this.
PINSKY: Our earlier story about the teen who reportedly went into what`s being called a catatonic state after being shocked more than 30 times has been blowing up on our Facebook page and the phone lines. Now, I had to get a point out that we needed to provide a statement from the center before we go on with this conversation.
They say, quote, "JRC educates and treats the most difficult behaviorally involved students in the country and administers the GED to treat severe behavior disorders only after other treatments have failed. Let`s go to a caller. Let`s see what you guys have to say about this. Justin from Vermont. You want to weigh in?
JUSTIN, VERMONT: Yes. Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hey, Justin.
JUSTIN: Oh, man. This story breaks my heart.
PINSKY: Yes. Yes. That`s a good way of putting it. It`s heartbreaking. Yes.
JUSTIN: It`s common for some people with mental disabilities to be defiant or aggressive.
PINSKY: Yes. Yes.
JUSTIN: But to shock this kid 31 times right here into a catatonic state makes me sick. I thought these people were supposed to be professionals.
PINSKY: Well, Justin, that`s an excellent point. That`s what I`m concerned about is that talking to those attorneys that we spoke to earlier in the program, they wanted that center closed down. And I`m always afraid of closing down an entire place because of the behavior of a few people or misconduct, that aren`t maintaining their professional standards.
I mean, here`s what I like. This was a place that was supposed to be doing treatment without medication. We give so much medicine to these kids. And, this was a hopeful alternative, and now, the whole place has to be shut down because of the behavior of a few. It`s awfully -- well, it`s impossible to defend the behavior of the video we saw, wouldn`t you agree?
JUSTIN: Yes. All just because this kid didn`t want to take his jacket off.
PINSKY: I know. Justin, you are right. It`s heartbreaking.
We`ll go to Facebook comment here from Alexis. "Just by the description of the video, I know I cannot watch. There is a special place in hell for child abusers and animal abusers." Cheers to that.
Jessica writes, "It`s sickening to see how messed up our society has become, especially considering our teachers are supposed to be an example for our children." I don`t want to generalize this to teachers. That`s the point. I don`t think we should take the behavior of a few and generalize it to the many. I think that`s a giant mistake here, even as it pertains to that institution. It could be a hopeful place if they fix their problems.
Listen, here`s a general note for everybody. You know, don`t try to destroy your enemy. Sometimes, they can be an asset -- not your enemy. You know, people that you`re not sure are an asset or not, but try to bring them in and change them rather than destroying it. You could have unintended effects.
Father in Florida, get this story, is accused of shaking his three- year-old son to death because the infant would not stop crying while the dad played a videogame. The 20-year-old father is charged with aggravated manslaughter and child abuse. And I want to tell you guys, I wanted to do this story, because I wish I had -- we don`t have any brain pictures here, do we -- that was the lovely dad, by the way.
He looks like a -- whatever. But, you know, the brain has these veins along the side and in the mid-line here that are very delicate, particularly, when you`re a baby, when you`re a child. And even sort of nominal amount of shaking or bouncing can cause these things to tear, bleeding into the brain tissue, and that`s that.
That`s why I thought this was an important story. Any of you raising babies, they`re little delicate creatures. We got Whitney on the phone from Montana. What`s up, Whitney?
WHITNEY, MONTANA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Whitney.
WHITNEY: I have seen the story as you guys posted on Facebook.
WHITNEY: It`s devastating. I mean, this poor baby.
WHITNEY: But then as I was reading the comments, they were talking about, you know, that`s what you get for young parents, and videogames are to blame, and things like that.
PINSKY: Wow! Again, this is -- you know, the theme of the show tonight has been taking a very specific egregious problem and generalizing it to all kinds of things. But what are your thoughts?
WHITNEY: Well, you know, I`m 25.
WHITNEY: I have been married for seven years. And I have three beautiful children, four two, and 5 months. My husband is a wonderful father. We are avid videogame players.
PINSKY: So, you take exception because you`re both a teen mom and a videogame player. To blame that -- I agree with you. And by the way, let me support you on this that -- although, teen pregnancies are down, that, of course, is a goal, because I couldn`t have raised a lizard at your age.
I`m sorry. I couldn`t have. But the fact is that the outcomes of children of teen parents are actually better than you`d expect. So, there you go.
WHITNEY: Well, I think it`s really on how they`re being raised.
PINSKY: Of course. Of course. Of course. And like I said, I couldn`t have done it, but hats off for you, and you know, cheers to your husband. Thank you for the call.
Lucy on Facebook writes, "If you don`t want to put the controller down and be a father, don`t be stupid and have kids. It`s called a condom, much cheaper than a child, and it won`t interrupt your video gaming time."
We have funny viewers, I guess. Jessica from Washington State is on the phone. Jessica, you said your daughter was shaken as a baby. Tell me about that.
JESSICA, WASHINGTON STATE: Well, she was two months old, and she was shaken by her biological father. The story really hit home to me, because, again, she was crying, wanted the bottle. He was playing a Playstation game.
PINSKY: Oh, no.
JESSICA: And, he decided that, you know, her needs weren`t as much as his importance. So, my question is --
PINSKY: Before you give me a question, what happened to your daughter? Is she OK?
JESSICA: Sixty-eight percent of her brain is gone. She has a brain span of a 10-month-old, and she`s almost 10 years old in May.
PINSKY: I am so sorry.
JESSICA: Yes. So, it`s tragic for the families, but my question is, why is it that people commit these crimes against children and usually get plea bargains offered to them?
PINSKY: You know, we`d have to have -- somebody said in one of the earlier comments that there`s a special place in hell for people that act out on children, and I totally agree with that. You`d really have to ask an attorney. I think, you know, many of the -- something like 90 percent of cases are plea bargained in whatever the situation is.
I mean, so, that`s a very common thing. I don`t think it`s particularly pertinent for crimes against children, though, you`re right. Maybe we should to away with the potential, even the possibility of bargaining for these guys. Thank you for that question. That`s really good. I`m so sorry about your daughter.
Again, it`s a reminder that -- and by the way, it`s called the shaken baby syndrome. And, even in situations where there`s not vigorous shaking and it`s not such an egregious thing as we`ve been talking about tonight, there can be -- still end up with an injured child.
So, the next case is a six-year-old kindergarten student in Georgia who was handcuffed and arrested after she allegedly threw a temper tantrum in class and she assaulted the principal and damaged school property. Question tonight is, did the officers go too far? Kelly in Texas. You`re on the line.
KELLY, TEXAS: Hi, Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Kelly.
KELLY: I don`t think we know that they went too far. I don`t think we know enough information, but I don`t think that they could have overreacted because they didn`t hurt the child.
PINSKY: But Kelly, this is the -- you bring up a really interesting point here. This is the, again, this is thematically coming off what we talked about earlier in the show about, you know, electric shock therapy for behavior modification.
There`s a point at which individuals, and it`s hard to imagine a little kid being dangerous like this, but they can be dangerous if not to other people and property, to themselves. I mean, I`ve seen people bash their heads in --
KELLY: That`s what made me worry about with little kids is them hurting themselves.
PINSKY: Yes. I think it`s important always in stories like this to really get the facts. I mean -- wouldn`t you agree for the most part, I mean, people are not maliciously going out trying to handcuff a six -- I mean, --
PINSKY: You know what I mean? There`s got to be some more to this story. It makes you go, oh my God, for sure. And God knows I hear stories on this program all the time where, you know, the reality turns out to be that people are just awful. I hope that`s not the case here. I`ve got Kim in Canada also. Kim, go ahead.
KIM, CANADA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Kim.
KIM: I do think it was disgusting that cop handcuffed a little six- year-old.
PINSKY: So, you`re more upset about this. OK.
PINSKY: And it is upsetting.
KIM: Still a baby.
PINSKY: Yes. It`s hard to imagine that a six-year-old could be -- again, only if -- the only reason I can justify it is if she`s potential harm to herself. And that is something that people have to keep in mind. Again, this is why I kind of wanted to look at these stories a little more carefully or at least raise these issues.
Sometimes, you`re doing something to protect the person from themselves. If you`re fearful they`re really wide and you`re fearful they`ll hurt themselves. And by the way, it`s a reminder to ourselves, again, as a physician, we use lots of medications in people like that and that may not always be the best and safest thing, although, it`s a little more sanitized. Anything else you want to say to me?
KIM: Well, maybe they should have called a doctor instead of the police.
PINSKY: Maybe they should have. That`s an interesting question. Thank you for your call.
So, next up, I have MTV`s "Teen Mom" Farrah Abraham. I`ve been working with her for a few years. She`s done reunions with her. She recently did (ph) another one. And she, sometimes, is -- I don`t know -- she`s criticized, sometimes, for her role in the show, as all the girls are. The fact is the show has had a dramatic impact on teen pregnancy. The first year the show aired, there was the largest single-year drop in teen pregnancy in history. So, Farrah`s joining me. We`re going to tackle your comments and calls when we come back, so don`t go away.
PINSKY: MTV`s "Teen Mom" Farrah Abraham is joining me now to take your calls and comments. Farrah was 17 years old, if you remember, when she gave birth to Baby Sophia in -- look at Sophia how little she was. There`s your mom, Deborah. How is Sophia doing now?
FARRAH ABRAHAM, MTV`S TEEN MOM: She`s doing great. She`s three.
PINSKY: She`s three. She`s very talkative, isn`t she?
ABRAHAM: Yes, she is.
PINSKY: She`s like loquacious.
ABRAHAM: She goes to early learning school. She`s very intelligent. I`m happy for my baby.
PINSKY: Of course. Between you and grandma, there`s a lot of intelligence being passed down.
ABRAHAM: That`s right.
PINSKY: What`s her favorite word? No?
ABRAHAM: I don`t know -- well, we have the no button. She does like to press it. I don`t know, but she likes meatballs.
PINSKY: Interesting. And you`re on a special campaign right now, is that right? March of Dimes. Tell me about that.
ABRAHAM: March of dimes. So, April 28th in Miami, Me and Sophia are going to do the walk and do the breakfast and other things with the public and raise funds for newborns.
ABRAHAM: So, I`m very excited.
PINSKY: Let`s go right to calls. I`ve got Linda. Linda in Louisiana, what`s on your mind?
LINDA, LOUISIANA: Hey, Dr. Drew. I feel like telling you the responsibility, the privilege of teen pregnancy (INAUDIBLE). I don`t feel like there`s a real view on pregnancy. It makes our young girls grow up and try to have a baby. So, this is not helping, it`s hurting our nation.
PINSKY: So, Linda, I think what you`re saying is you think the shows like "Teen Mom" has had a negative impact and it`s encouraging kids to get pregnant. Is that what you`re saying?
LINDA: Yes --
PINSKY: Hold on. Hold on. I`ve got some data, but I`m going to let Farrah respond to that first. There`s Macy.
ABRAHAM: Yes. I think what our show is really doing is bringing teen pregnancy to light so that it does not encourage teens to continue to get pregnant. And teen pregnancies are down.
PINSKY: They`re way down. In fact -- and, actually, the people that study this stuff like the National Campaign on Unwanted Teen Pregnancy, Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, they`re called, I always get that wrong. The teenage birthrate fell nine percent from 2009 to 2010.
The national level is approximately 34 teenage births per 1,000 women between the age of 15 and 19. This is actually -- I know it sounds like a lot, and we`re still not doing well internationally, but this is actually the lowest since 1946.
ABRAHAM: I`m proud of you, teens.
PINSKY: I`m proud of you guys because you guys opened your lives to everybody. This is being called the "16 and Pregnant" effect. Christine in Iowa?
CHRISTINE, OKLAHOMA CITY: Oh, OK. OK.
ABRAHAM: Yes. Hi.
CHRISTINE: I am in Oklahoma City.
PINSKY: Oklahoma City. All right. Well, they screwed us up.
ABRAHAM: Close enough.
CHRISTINE: OK. The question is, don`t you think that focusing on yourself with modeling and getting cosmetic surgery is being selfish and taken away from your child`s needs?
ABRAHAM: Actually, I would disagree. My daughter`s college is already paid for. I take care of all her food, her schooling, everything. So, I think because I`m established --
PINSKY: So being -- having a career that this has spawned, this program, has allowed you to put a fund aside for Sophia?
ABRAHAM: That was first. First and foremost.
ABRAHAM: So, I did take care of Sophia. And, you know, from working on my own jobs, I have -- so from working on my own job, I have saved money and helped my own self-confidence which has made me more successful.
PINSKY: You think it`s helped you be a mom.
ABRAHAM: I think it`s helped me be a better mom because I`m happy.
PINSKY: You`re a better person. You`re happier. Pete tweeted this question. "How old do you feel?"
ABRAHAM: How old do I feel?
PINSKY: I`ve watched you guys -- I`ve watched you guys grow up. I`ve watched you, guys, be (ph) kids, and now, I feel like you`re young women. Do you feel older than that?
ABRAHAM: I feel like I`m 38.
PINSKY: Yes. You`ve been through a lot. Are you going to cry on me again?
ABRAHAM: No. I`ve gone through a lot before coming here, but I am OK.
PINSKY: Yes. OK. Good.
Let`s go to Helen. She has a question. "If you could do it all over again, would you get pregnant again?
ABRAHAM: I would not get pregnant again. I want to wait to have a kid later. You know, married, maybe 30. So, I`m holding that one back.
PINSKY: Have people seen this season that`s airing of "16 and Pregnant" or "Teen Mom," this relationship you develop? Has that aired yet?
ABRAHAM: Which relationship with whom?
PINSKY: Well, the one, the guy in Florida that looks like it`s really going somewhere.
ABRAHAM: Well, I -- no.
PINSKY: That isn`t there yet? OK. But you`re looking.
ABRAHAM: You know what, right now, I`m not dating. I`m being a mom. So, --
PINSKY: All right. Brittany in Pittsburgh, you`ve got a question. Go ahead, Brittany.
BRITTANY, PITTSBURGH: What`s the biggest struggle you face with raising Sophia without a father?
ABRAHAM: There`s a lot, and currently, it`s moving. So, I feel like because I`m a single parent, moving, just struggling with everything back and forth. Transportation, appointments --
PINSKY: Well, I remember you trying to go to school and stuff, too, and raise -- there was no one there to support you. You had a baby-sitter, but that wasn`t good enough.
ABRAHAM: Yes. So, basically, I plan -- or I try to plan everything, so Sophia`s in school and she goes to early learning school now. I try to, you know, do my work.
And when I do have school going on during different semesters, I try to push it all together, so I don`t have to worry so much about childcare and, you know, because it`s hard on me to worry and stress out who`s watching Sophia or without my parents being close. It`s really hard.
PINSKY: Can we go to caller, Allie? I want to get her question real quick. Allie in Cleveland, go ahead.
ALLIE, CLEVELAND: Farrah, how is the relationship with your mom now?
ABRAHAM: Oh, currently, I don`t -- I mean --
PINSKY: I saw them a couple of weeks ago. When we were in New York together, about three weeks ago, a month ago?
PINSKY: They seemed good then. But these two, it kind of goes up and down. So --
ABRAHAM: Yes. I think it`s hard to work with your mom, also be a daughter with your mom.
PINSKY: And (INAUDIBLE) grandmother and you don`t have a husband. She`s a major support for you.
ABRAHAM: So, just balancing all of those different views. It`s very hard. But, you know, we`re trying.
PINSKY: Good. All right. Farrah and I take more of your calls and more comments. Again, a reminder that the year that "16 and Pregnant" first aired, that was your first season, we had the biggest single drop in the teen pregnancy rate in history in this country. And I tell you something, I got involved with this show because I know that teenagers aren`t dumb. They`re smart.
But they don`t want to listen to somebody like me. But you give them a relatable source, somebody they can relate to, and magically, they not only hear it, learn it, but it also changes their behavior. There`s a disconnect with teenagers many times between cognitive understanding and the change in behavior.
This show, 80 percent of teens say has affected how they view teen pregnancy and changed their behavior. So, again, Farrah stays with me. We have your calls, comments, coming up.
PINSKY: Good evening. I`m back with MTV`s "teen mom," Farrah Abraham. Let`s go right to a call. I`ve got limited time here. Kris in Louisiana. Go ahead, you got a question for Farrah?
KRIS, LOUISIANA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Kris.
KRIS: I have a personal story I`d like to share.
KRIS: At 17 in 1984, I became pregnant, gave birth on 1985. Hate to say it, I`m 45 now. I was a senior in high school and lack of a better word, shunned by the family community. It was very uncommon.
KRIS: I completed high school, went to work immediately to support my child, lived with my parents from time to time, not unlike Farrah and her circumstances.
PINSKY: Right. That`s right.
KRIS: At this point in my life, I can truthfully say I do not believe that I was a good mom or a good parent.
KRIS: My question is, if you want teen pregnancy to decrease, I believe education is the key. I am strongly against that show. I do believe it glorifies pregnancy.
PINSKY: But what do you do, Kris, with the data, then, that shows it`s had a marked impact on reducing teen pregnancy? Marked. The lowest since 1946.
KRIS: Right, but let`s do this. Why not have a show about what happens to babies who are born to teen moms? Let`s show their lives and what happens to them.
PINSKY: Unfortunately, that would affect adults, but I`m not sure it would affect teen moms who don`t really see that connection. You`d have to show the effect on their lives. It`s an interesting idea. I`m not dismissing it.
But -- and by the way -- and the other thing is, when you look at the data on teen pregnancies, the kids actually typically have better outcomes than you anticipate. It`s kind of strange. You know, you think, oh my God, stressful environment, no dad around, the data is going to be bad. It`s not as bad as you`d expect.
ABRAHAM: I also feel that --
KRIS: I have looked at it, and I have to disagree to some extent. There is a lot of mixed data out there.
PINSKY: Yes. It`s true, true.
KRIS: But there`s a large majority of these kids that end up in prison.
PINSKY: Well, for sure. For sure. No doubt about it. Go ahead, Farrah.
ABRAHAM: I have to say for my own situation, I feel like I`m the best person to be taking care of my daughter. I feel like I`m an exceptional, good mother for all the unexpected circumstances that have been thrown my way.
PINSKY: Wouldn`t have been better (ph), let me just play devils advocate.
ABRAHAM: It definitely would be better if I was 20, 25.
PINSKY: Twenty-eight and had a dad.
ABRAHAM: Yes, 28, and I had another significant other.
PINSKY: Would have been better for Sophia?
PINSKY: OK. So, she agrees with you, Kris, on outcome and ease, but you know, the probability of creating healthy environment for kids. We agree with you. But the idea is changing adolescent behavior. And I`m telling you, I`ve worked with adolescents for years. The way to change it is show them, adolescents having consequences.
I`ve used that model for over 25 years. You can educate them to death, and it doesn`t change their behavior. They know all about HIV. They know everything you need to know. Do they use condoms? No. There you go. Lindsay in Iowa, what`s your question?
LINDSAY, IOWA: Hi, Farrah. I know you`re from Iowa. So, I`m just wondering if you miss any of your friends or family from Iowa or if you`re glad that you actually moved away from them?
ABRAHAM: You know, I have no friends in Iowa.
PINSKY: Did you? You were a cheerleader. You had all those friends.
PINSKY: They left you?
ABRAHAM: It all goes away. So, I am happy to see my family when I am there and visiting. I love to see them. Otherwise, I`m happy living my new life with Sophia and I encourage others to be more independent.
PINSKY: Thank you for your questions, guys. I appreciate it. Farrah, of course, thank you for joining me.
ABRAHAM: Thank you. It`s nice being here.
PINSKY: It`s good to see you. She, of course, as we said, will be participating in the march for babies sponsored by the March of Dimes on April 28th in Miami.
ABRAHAM: Come walk.
PINSKY: Come walk in Miami. Is it -- do you have to get funds? Do you have to get people go online --
ABRAHAM: Yes. You can donate. Go online. MarchofDimes.com.
PINSKY: Vote for you?
ABRAHAM: You don`t have to vote for me. Just donate.
PINSKY: Just donate. OK. Good night, everybody. We`ll be back here. See you tomorrow.