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Friday, May 18, 2007On the heels of a rally featuring more than 100 moms and their families, the call is out to gather additional support for Rep. Maloney's Breastfeeding Promotion Act.
Here's the information:
The Breastfeeding Promotion Act, H.R. 2236, was reintroduced in the House of Representatives on May 10th with Reps. Maloney(NY), Shays(CT) and Elison(freshman from MN) attending the press conference. Now it needs two things to move it along.
*1)It needs /_more cosponsors_/! At present only 28 representatives have cosigned. Bills generate more interest and get hearings faster when they have many, many cosponsors. If your representative is not a cosponsor, you need to ask him or her to do so. Gather up a bunch of your fellow mothers in your district and have them all call and write to the representative and ask them to sign on as a cosponsor. I went to my representative's office and got into an interesting dialogue with two of
his aides about why he has not signed on and asked them to bring it to his attention. Here is a link to the list of current cosponsors:*
If your representative is not a cosponsor, then go to the House of Representatives website and find out who your rep is with the Find your Rep link and get his or her contact phone number and email. Send them an email from his or her webpage telling them this is important to you. Ask your rep to cosponsor ASAP. Get your friends and neighbors to do so as well. Call back a couple weeks later and ask them if they have done so. If they have not write and mail and actual letter to your rep. Tell him or her exactly why the BPA is important. Here are some talking points you can adapt for your communications:
- Women are quitting breastfeeding far earlier than the Surgeon General and all medical authorities say is best for babies.
- There are no federal workplace protections for breastfeeding mothers in American and patchwork state laws are not proving strong enough.
- Women are being told they can't pump, are not being given breaks to do so, are having to pump in bathrooms, are getting charged extra fees for breastmilk at some daycare chains all around the country, are getting fired for trying to be both good mothers and good workers.
- Having a civil right to breastfeed in the law will reach and teach American workers where they spend most of their days and more quickly create a
breastfeeding friendly culture that will help meet the Surgeon General's Healthy People 2010 goals for improving breastfeeding rates.
- There is no downside to improving the health of babies and mothers!
- Creating support for long term breastfeeding will eventually lower healthcare costs for infants and children across the board.
If your representative is a cosponsor send an email to thank them and ask them to talk and encourage their colleagues to sign on as well.
*2) Rep. Lynn Woolsey is now the chairperson of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections that must have a hearing on the bill before it can be voted out of the committee and have a chance for a full vote of the House. She is a cosponsor and favorable to the bill, but we need you all to send her emails, call and fax/write letters asking her to hold a hearing on the bill sooner than later! We especially need her to hear from a lot of her constituents in the Marin and Sonoma California areas to get in touch with her. Use the above talking points along with the fact that we have waited seven years to pass the Breastfeeding Promotion Act and in that time millions of mothers have not had adequate legislative support, which would make the choice to breastfeed/pump simple and easy to do. Ask her/her aides to tell us when we will get the hearing we need. Do this before the end of May. Make it a priority
to make these contacts with her and with your own representative. Often the Representatives webpage won't allow those who do not live in the zip codes in her district send an email. If are not one of her constituents you can use the following contact info to call, fax or mail a letter.
Washington DC Office:
2263 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
We have a really strong chance at passage with this 110th Congress if we can make a strong showing by communicating to all the representatives that we want this bill to be heard and voted upon this year. Half the country are women and most are mothers. Surely we can muster enough of our communities so that every one of the 535 representatives can hear from more than one constituent on behalf of this bill, HR 2122 The Breastfeeding Promotion Act.