The US Targeted Breastfeeding Abroad. Here At Home, It’s Another Story

By Rebecca Beitsch
Stateline.org

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) This year in the United States, Idaho became the last state to protect mothers who are nursing in public against fines for public indecency. Now all 50 states allow public breastfeeding.

WASHINGTON

The Trump administration this spring tried to remove pro-breastfeeding language from a World Health Organization resolution.

But here at home, breastfeeding has steadily become more accepted and accessible, culminating this year in the 49th and 50th states enacting laws to allow it in public.

The World Health Organization resolution stated that breast milk is the healthiest choice for babies and encouraged countries to crack down on misleading claims from purveyors of formula.

Attempts by the United States to remove language that called on governments to “protect, promote and support breastfeeding” were unsuccessful, but the move shocked researchers and health advocates who have long contended “breast is best.”

The measure succeeded even after the United States reportedly threatened to withdraw military aid or introduce new trade measures against Ecuador, which had planned to introduce it.

In the end, Russia introduced the measure. President Donald Trump criticized coverage of the controversy and said the United States wants to promote access to formula.

Meanwhile, this year in the United States, Idaho became the last to protect mothers who are nursing in public against fines for public indecency.

Utah enacted a similar law a few days before, so all 50 states now allow public breastfeeding. New Jersey expanded its civil rights law to protect nursing mothers from discrimination at work, joining 28 states that offer workplace protections. New York will begin requiring breastfeeding rooms in all state buildings open to the public by next year.

The choices made by mothers in the United States and those abroad may seem unrelated, but in fact are closely intertwined.

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