Advocating The Right To Choose

Source: Queens Gazette

Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) and New York City Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr. (D-36) joined mothers and breastfeeding advocates to decry the Trump administration’s recent attempts to block a United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly resolution endorsing breastfeeding and calling on countries to limit inaccurate or misleading marketing of substitutes.

“We should be supporting all efforts to make breastfeeding easier and more accepted. We should be taking a stand against corporations that try to muddy the waters and confuse mothers into thinking that formula is always the way to go,” said Congress Member Maloney. “We should not be bullying other countries and attempting to water down resolutions that would recognize the importance of breastfeeding for infants and would work against misleading attempts to sell substitutes for a mother’s milk. I will keep working in Washington to make sure to break down the barriers so that every woman can choose to breastfeed, and will fight to protect the rights we have already won.”

“Yet again, the Trump administration has proved that corporate profits are more important than the well-being of the American people,” said Council Member Cornegy. “As a husband and father of six children who has experienced firsthand the serious impediments nursing mothers face in safely and freely breastfeeding their children, I will not stand by while this administration puts billion-dollar companies’ profits ahead of the health of newborn babies and nursing moms.”

The positive health effects of breastfeeding are globally recognized and apply to mothers and children in developed nations, such as the US, as well as to those in developing countries. Breast milk helps protect against a number of childhood diseases, including ear infections, juvenile diabetes, lymphoma, some chronic liver diseases, and allergies. The World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend six months of exclusive breastfeeding for all infants.

Maloney is a longtime advocate of breastfeeding rights. In 1998, she introduced a comprehensive bill promoting breastfeeding and protecting women who choose to breastfeed. One of the provisions of that bill, which allowed states to spend more money on breastfeeding promotion and support through the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) nutrition program, became law in 1998. In 1999, her Right to Breastfeed on Federal Property Act was passed as part of the FY2000 appropriations measures, 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.

Working mothers’ opportunities to breastfeed were further expanded on March 23, 2010, when President Obama signed parts of Congress Member Maloney’s Breastfeeding Promotion bill into law as part of the Affordable Care Act. These provisions ensure that employers provide nursing mothers in traditional hourly labor jobs with adequate space and time to pump breast milk during the workday.

Council Member Robert Cornegy opened New York State’s first public lactation station, and has supported measures in the City Council to increase the number of breastfeeding locations throughout New York City and advance the rights of breastfeeding mothers throughout the city. Cornegy’s measures were lauded nationwide as a victory for women’s rights and was signed into law by Mayor de Blasio in 2016.

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