Maloney, Shays Convene 100+ Nursing Moms on Capitol Hill to Call Attention to Breastfeeding Rights

May 10, 2007
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Flanked by over 100 breastfeeding mothers and children, U.S. Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Christopher Shays (R-CT) hosted a “nurse-in” today on Capitol Hill to reintroduce their “Breastfeeding Promotion Act” (H.R. 2236 – click here for link to bill).  The bipartisan bill would protect breastfeeding mothers from discrimination and encourage new mothers to breastfeed.


“Breastfeeding is healthy and natural.  I know firsthand how challenging life as a new mom can be.  We should be doing everything we can to support women who decide to breastfeed – not making their lives more difficult,” said Maloney.  “The women here today are able to breastfeed on Federal Property because of legislation I worked hard to pass back in 1999.  I will not rest until we expand that right, and ensure that breastfeeding women who go back to work get the support they deserve.”      

“Breast milk helps protect against a number of childhood diseases, including ear infections, juvenile diabetes, lymphoma, some chronic liver diseases, and allergies.  I am hopeful this legislation will help protect the ability of mothers to feed their young children in the most healthy and convenient way for them,” said Shays.

The Breastfeeding Promotion Act:
• amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect breastfeeding women from being fired or discriminated against in the workplace
• provides tax incentives for businesses that establish private, lactation areas in the workplace
• provides for a performance standard for breast pumps
• allows breastfeeding equipment to be tax deductible for families

Breastfeeding has been proven to have health benefits for both the mother and child.  Research studies show that children who are not breastfed have higher rates of mortality, meningitis, some types of cancers, asthma and other respiratory illnesses, bacterial and viral infections, ear infections, allergies, and obesity.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers breastfeed exclusively for six months but continue breastfeeding for at least the first year of a child’s life. 

Currently, 38 states and Puerto Rico have laws on their books protecting the rights of women to breastfeed.  The Breastfeeding Promotion Act would move beyond the patchwork of state laws and establish a national protection for breastfeeding mothers. 

In addition to Shays, the following Representatives are original co-sponsors of Maloney’s “Breastfeeding Promotion Act”: Keith Ellison (D-MN); Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX); Barbara Lee (D-CA); Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY); John Olver (D-MA); Bobby Rush (D-IL); Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-OH); Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA).


BACKGROUND:

Congresswoman Maloney first passed breastfeeding legislation in the 106th Congress when her right to breastfeed amendment was passed as part of the FY 2000 budget, ensuring a woman's right to breastfeed her child on any portion of Federal property where the woman and her child are otherwise authorized to be.  In the 105th Congress, Rep. Maloney was able to include in the “Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)” reauthorization bill a measure that allows state agencies to use the WIC food program funds to provide educational materials on breastfeeding and allows state agencies to use additional WIC funds to purchase breast pumps.

Fact Sheet on the Breastfeeding Promotion Act:
https://maloney.house.gov/sites/maloney.house.gov/files/documents/olddocs/breastfeeding/050505summary.rtf

CRS Report on Federal Breastfeeding Legislation (October, 2006):
https://maloney.house.gov/documents/women/breastfeeding/20061012_CRS_fedleg.pdf

CRS Report on State Laws and Breastfeeding (May, 2005):
https://maloney.house.gov/sites/maloney.house.gov/files/documents/olddocs/breastfeeding/050505CRSReport.pdf

CRS Report on Health Benefits of Breastfeeding (July, 2003):
https://maloney.house.gov/sites/maloney.house.gov/files/documents/olddocs/breastfeeding/CRS_Report_on_Benefits_of_Breastfeeding.pdf

###