Dear U.S. House and Senate Leadership,
I support breastfeeding families and I support the breastfeeding provisions that are part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Removing these provisions would hurt babies, working mothers and breastfeeding families.
Through repeal of the ACA, many women’s preventative care requirements could be reduced or eliminated, including the insurance coverage of lactation consultants and breast pumps for breastfeeding mothers. These provisions have given more women access to breastfeeding support and equipment. Since 2010, breastfeeding initiation rates in Michigan have increased by 10.7 percent, and the number of infants who are exclusively breastfed at 6 months has more than doubled, according to the CDC 2016 Breastfeeding Report Card.
The repeal of the ACA will also endanger the “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” federal law, which became effective when the ACA was signed into law on March 23, 2010. This law requires employers to provide reasonable break time and space (other than a bathroom) for their breastfeeding employees. According to “The Business Case for Breastfeeding” from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, women with children are currently the fastest growing segment of the workforce. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 58 percent of women with children under the age of one are employed. In the United States, more than 70 percent of all new mothers today choose to breastfeed to give their babies important nutrition and health benefits.
Breastfeeding is proven to significantly reduce disease and illness in women and infants. According to numerous studies, breastfeeding not only protects babies from SIDS, pneumonia, ear infections, gastroenteritis, obesity and asthma, but also protects mothers from breast cancer, ovarian cancer, heart disease and diabetes. By reducing or eliminating the breastfeeding support provisions in the ACA, we are putting the health of infants and mothers at risk.
Do not repeal the ACA without a replacement plan that keeps these important protections in place.