Tuesday, November 08, 2005

It's natural, healthy -- and it's law

Chip Johnson of the San Franciso Chronicle writes this article about the effects of California's two-year-old law requiring employers to provide a space where nursing mothers can express (pump) milk. He writes:
Too often, the law is violated, though more often out of ignorance than contempt.

"The law is out there, but a lot of people, including breast-feeding moms aren't aware of those rights,'' said Pam Tellew of La Leche League, an international breast-feeding advocacy organization started in Chicago nearly 50 years ago. The group provides support, education and a community forum for new and expectant moms.

To promote and advance the law, the Contra Costa Breastfeeding Coalition, which works toward widespread acceptance of one of humanity's most natural acts, last week honored several employers that provide a safe, clean and private environment for their nursing employees.

Two local Contra Costa County offices -- the Children and Family Services Division and the county administration office -- as well as the Nurture Center, a Concord business that sells maternity clothes and infant supplies, were commended by the group for their efforts.


But for all the comfort the Nurture Center provides, such accommodations are rare in a workplace, never mind that it's technically against the law to deny mothers such an environment.

Most advocates agree that enforcement of the law will be carried out by the same breast-feeding mothers it was written to protect.

Both Tellew and Levy tell stories about mothers who had to enforce their right with an employer or inform someone in a public setting that they have the right to breast-feed anywhere, anytime they want.

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