Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Breastfeeding Legislative Update

Tanya Lieberman, host of The Motherwear Blog, has done an excellent job of summarizing recent breastfeeding-related legislation. So much so, that I don't feel like I need to do my own, which I was - sort-of - working on. I do have a couple additions to the list, below.

La Leche League maintains a Summary of Proposed Breastfeeding Legislation; however it is not as complete as one would like.

Texas - The September, 2006 issue of ParentWiseAustin covered the state's NIP statute thoroughly:
What’s the big deal about breastfeeding in public? The law, that’s what. Although it protects a woman’s right to breastfeed in Texas, few folks know about it and, even if they do, they don’t necessarily have to follow it. We explain why beginning on page 8.
Excellent reading. I even learned some things, such as the fact that a woman who feels that her right to breastfeed has been interfered with can file a complaint with the Texas Department of State Health Services , which "responds to complaints by sending a letter to the facility where the alleged violation occurred, explaining the law and encouraging the owner or manager to inform employees about it." They get about 2 or 3 complaints a month.

Also, the Texas DSHS has a number of brochures and other breastfeeding information which can be ordered or downloaded, including a "licence to breastfeed in public" card.

Wisconsin - Assembly Bill 104/Senate Bill 30 would guarantee the right to breastfeed in public and put in place a fine not to exceed $200 for interfering with a breastfeeding mother. Also, the city of Madison approved a breastfeeding ordinance in January.

Internationally, Chile passed a law this year giving mothers the right to breastfeed their child at work; and the city of Toronto is hoping to raise public awareness of the protected nature of nursing in public.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Midwifery Legal Update - Iowa, California

Certified Professional Midwife Melanie Moore of Iowa has been charged with violating Iowa Code Section 147.2, practicing medicine without a license, a class D felony. She has not been arrested, but a court appearance is scheduled for later this month.

Licensed Midwife and Nurse Practitioner Marcia McCulley of Simi Valley, California was arrested on March 14th at her office for practicing medicine without a license. According to eyewitness accounts, agents from the LA County Sheriff's office entered the premesis, where clients with babies were present, with guns drawn. Pursuant to a search warrant, patient charts were seized (anyone know the HIPPA ramifications?). Ms. McCulley seems to be in trouble with both the California state Nursing and Medical boards. You can read about it on the birth center's website.