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Tuesday, January 30, 2007Apparently the West Virginia Breastfeeding Legislation has caught the eye of the political editor at the West Virginia State Journal.
Here's what he writes:
I was somewhat disappointed to see that last year's grand champion of unnecessary bills -- the one that would have forced merchants to let women breastfeed anywhere in their establishments -- has returned but in somewhat diminished form.
A gaggle of state senators is calling not for breastfeeding on demand on private property but for some more constitutional steps, such as a program encouraging employers to encourage breastfeeding at the workplace and automatic excuses from jury duty for breastfeeding mothers. It omits breastfeeding from public indecency laws.
But in the House of Delegates, the war for the right to nurse in other people's establishments rages on. After all of the outraged "lactavists" we heard from last year, I would have been disappointed if they would have given up in both houses.
Want to share your thoughts? Chris Stirewalt can be reached at (304) 720-6553 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Here's the letter that I just sent...
Having just read your article about the "waste of time" bills being pushed through the West Virginia Congress this year, I couldn't help but share my own comments.
Exclusively breastfeeding a child for the first six months of its' life and continuing to nurse to a year and beyond has been proven to lower the risk of obesity and to improve long-term health (thus extending life expectancy and lowering health care costs). Since survey after survey shows that fear of breastfeeding in public (and facing the embarrassment and shame of being pointed out and asked to leave) is a primary reason that many mothers quit breastfeed (or never start at all), bills that protect the rights of nursing mothers are essential to increasing the rates of breastfed children.
As such, I would consider the proposed breastfeeding legislation to be a great way to address three (obesity, life expectancy and uninsured citizens) of the five issues named by you in your column. Perhaps you need to work on item number three on your list (education) so that you might be better informed about the potential impact of these types of bills.
Some day the public may get beyond themselves and realize that the issue here isn't about a mother's right to nurse in public, it's about a child's right to eat. Last time I checked adults (and non-nursing children) were allowed to enjoy their meals without being asked to place a blanket over their head or to retire to the nearest public restroom.
Then again, maybe we are moving in the direction where we should be allowed to banish anyone that offends us. I suppose if mixed race couples bother me, I should be allowed to ask them to leave my property and to call the police if they refuse. Or perhaps I dislike people that are overweight. May I kick them out of my restaurant as well? What about Republicans? Democrats? Can I tell someone to leave because their beliefs offend me?
Perhaps if Americans would grow up and learn to look the other way if they're offended by a child eating then we wouldn't have to waste the government's time with issues like these. "