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Monday, February 20, 2006In a disappointing move, Massachusetts has given in to public criticism and cancelled an upcoming ban on the automatic giveaway of free hospital gift bags from formula companies. I wrote about the free formula ban when it first made news back around Christmas.
It's important to note that despite public comments to the contrary, the new law never barred hospitals from giving away free formula. It simply banned the automatic distribution to ALL new mothers. Instead, the new law would have required that hospitals give the "gifts" only to mothers that requested them.
The decision to drop the new ban was made after Governor Mitt Romney said that he didn't want to block new mothers from receiving the bags and that the decision to breastfeed should be left up to mothers. Ironic isn't it...that the law wouldn't block mothers from getting the bags and the bags themselves have been shown to encourage mothers to switch to formula when things get a little tough.
The article hit the nail on the head in presenting the arguments of the two sides:
Formula companies had objected to the ban, saying women should be given the widest range of options to feed their babies. They said they are committed to the health of babies and mothers.
But breast-feeding activists supported the ban. They say it protected new mothers from being lured into relying on formula when the healthiest option is their own breast milk.
Imagine that...formula companies got upset because they couldn't shove their product into every new moms hand? Ohh...how sad.
Want to share your input with Governor Romney? Please do... you can send a message via his web site, or you can contact him at the following address:
Office of the Governor
Boston, MA 02133
Phone: (617) 725-4005
FAX: (617) 727-9725
TTY: (617) 727-3666