Thursday, October 15, 2009

Governor Vetoes Breastfeeding Support Bill!

The following letter comes from the California WIC Association

October 2, 2009

Governor Vetoes both AB 513 and SB 257!

Breastfeeding advocates are dismayed by Governor Schwarzenegger's decision to veto two modest but critical bills that would have increased breastfeeding support for low-income and working mothers. The Governor missed an opportunity to save millions in health care dollars by supporting low-cost, low-tech investments in breastfeeding. The evidence is in -- breastfeeding prevents illness, chronic disease and even infant death. We are extremely disappointed by this short-sighted decision.

AB 513 (de Leon-Healthcare Coverage/Breastfeeding) sought improved support for breastfeeding by requiring health care service plans and health insurers to include coverage for lactation support and pumps. The Governor's veto message stated that he supports breastfeeding, but that mandates in health plans increase the cost of health care. We would argue that the small investment would save millions in subsequent health care cost by reducing acute and chronic disease for mothers and babies.

SB 257 (Pavley-Employee Notification/Breastfeeding Accommodation) would have simply required every state agency and department to notify female employees nearing maternity leave of the existing lactation accommodation law. SB 257 sailed through the Legislature and was unopposed by state analysts, with many state agencies indicating there was a need for this simple notification. But the Governor's veto stated that there was not enough evidence to indicate that employees were not adequately informed of their right to return to work breastfeeding.

ACTION: Please use this sample letter to the editor to send to your local newspaper regarding these unfortunate vetoes.

Please visit the CWA website to find a template letter, read the Governor's veto messages and for more information on the bills.

Karen Farley: 916-448-2280