From the United States Breastfeeding Committee:
On June 11, 2009, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (NY) and Senator Jeff Merkley (OR) introduced the Breastfeeding Promotion Act in both houses of Congress, to provide a unified national policy to keep mothers, their children, and their communities healthy. This is the first time the bill has been introduced in the Senate.
The Breastfeeding Promotion Act (H.R. 2819, S. 1244) includes five provisions:
- 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, or provide breastfeeding equipment or consultation services to their employees.
- Provides for a performance standard to ensure breast pumps are safe and effective.
- Allows breastfeeding equipment and consultation services to be tax deductible for families (amends Internal Revenue Code definition of “medical care”).
- Protects the privacy of breastfeeding mothers by ensuring they have break time and a private place to pump (applies to employers with 50 or more employees, see text of legislation for details).
Something to think about and write to your representatives about. It’s exciting to see breastfeeding become a visible, national health care issue. Having said that, I still think that what breastfeeding mothers and babies really need is good maternity leave policy. Protecting mothers’ ability to pump milk for their babies is a great start but not a true replacement for time together during those first months of life.