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2042Re: [lactivism] New Wisconsin breastfeeding legislation

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  • Jake Marcus
    Feb 17, 2010
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      Hi all-

      From what I can tell, the final version is actually this: http://www.legis.state.wi.us/2009/data/lc_amdt/ab057.pdf . Laurel, that link is the bill prior to some significant amendments (and very different from a different bill I saw last year). The WI legislative website is confusing so it is hard to tell that the hotlink for the bill is the bill as introduced and not the bill as passed.

      Jake Marcus

      On Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 9:39 PM, Laurel <breathe@...> wrote:

      The Wisconsin public breastfeeding bill just passed the final stage and is on the way to the Governor's desk who says he plans to sign it. The wording includes "may not interfere" in the bill!
      Wording of the bill:

      Press Release from the co-sponsor of the bill:

      Rep. Pasch Applauds Senate Passage of Breastfeeding Legislation

      Legislation will protect breastfeeding mothers from intimidation and harassment, facilitate improved health of infants and mothers

      MADISON—Representative Sandy Pasch (D-Whitefish Bay) applauded the Senate passage of Assembly Bill 57—otherwise known at the Right to Breastfeed Act—with broad support on Tuesday. Rep. Pasch introduced this legislation which will allow a woman to breastfeed in any public or private place, where she and her child are otherwise authorized to be, without interference.

      "The reality that such a bill is necessary is unfortunate, but mothers across the state continue to encounter harassment while breastfeeding their children," said Rep. Pasch, the lead Assembly author of the bill. "Senator Fred Risser has demonstrated tremendous leadership as the Senate author of this legislation, and I thank the Senate for their support of this legislation which protects breastfeeding mothers from intimidation and harassment while helping facilitate improved health of infants and mothers alike."

      Healthy People 2010, a program coordinated through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has a goal of increasing the number of women who breastfeed at birth to 75%, and at six months of age to 50%. Wisconsin has a long way to go to reach those goals—just 62% of Wisconsin mothers breastfeed at birth, and only 22% continue for five to six months.

      "Breastfeeding provides the most complete form of nutrition for infants and has been shown to decrease rates of pre-menopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis in mothers," noted Rep. Pasch, a nurse for over 30 years. "The evidence behind the health benefits of breastfeeding is overwhelming, so we must do all we can to encourage mothers to engage in this behavior."

      According to the Center for Urban Population Health, the number of infants who die within their first year of life in Milwaukee is higher than the city's number of homicides. Further, African American babies are at the same risk of dying as babies born in Albania, Sri Lanka, and Thailand in some parts of the city. The Wisconsin Partnership Program also notes that Wisconsin's rank for African American infant mortality has fallen from among the best in the country to third worst.

      "It is well-documented that breastfeeding reduces infant mortality rates, so I hope this legislation will help facilitate efforts to combat these tragic and preventable deaths," said Rep. Pasch. "43 other states have passed laws with language that specifically allows a woman to breastfeed in any public or private location, and Wisconsin is now one step closer to finally joining these ranks. We must not interfere with this natural act and indeed, we must promote it—for the health of the child, the mother, and our state."

      Assembly Bill 57 has passed through both houses of the Legislature and now heads to Governor Doyle's desk for his signature.

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