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Health

Public Breastfeeding Is Now Legal in All 50 US States


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Breastfeeding, when possible, has been shown to be the healthiest choice for both babies and mothers. But for years, women in Idaho and Utah have been forced to nurse in restrooms or under duress, due to notions of immodesty perpetuated by special interest groups. You can join us by taking action here to support maternal and child health everywhere.

Breastfeeding in public is now officially legal in all 50 states.

Following new legislation passed in Idaho and Utah, breastfeeding your baby anywhere is protected by law, reports USA Today.

"I don't feel like we should ever relegate a mom to a restroom to breastfeed their child," Rep. Justin Fawson told KUER 90.1 in the runup to the vote in Utah. "That's a big reason why I'm running the bill. I'm seeking to further normalize breastfeeding and allow moms to feed their babies as needed."

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Rep. Paul Amador echoed those sentiments when he told the House that Idaho was “too far behind when it came to implementing progressive breastfeeding laws,” reported Idaho Statesman.

"Personally, I find it disappointing that we're in 2018 and we still haven't passed this law in Idaho," Amador said prior to passing the bill. "I think we can take a proactive stance here through legislation to promote the natural bond and health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child. I also believe the health and nutritional choices of our families are best left as decisions for our families, not our government."

Read More: This Indian Policewoman Breastfed an Abandoned Baby and May Have Saved His Life

"There's no arguing that breastfeeding is considered the gold standard of nutrition," CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula told CBS This Morning in an earlier report. “It has hormones, antibodies, enzymes, live cells and so that is why the American Academy of Pediatrics and others recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed until six months and then to go on to continue breastfeeding up to one year with, at that point, the addition of foods."

The World Health Organization also has stated in earlier studies that breastfeeding could prevent 823,000 infant deaths and 20,000 maternal deaths every year, worldwide, CBS noted.

A UNICEF report released in May ranking countries by breastfeeding rates showed that in high-income countries, more than 1 in 5 babies is never breastfed, as opposed to in low- and middle-income countries, where 1 in 25 babies is never breastfed.

Read More: The US Tried to Block a UN Breastfeeding Measure, Baffling Health Experts

Among high-income countries, Ireland, France, and the United States had the three lowest breastfeeding rates at the time of the study. But now with zero restrictions placed upon American women as to where they can nurse, numbers in the US may rise.

Fifty states and the District of Columbia now specifically permit women to breastfeed in any place they’re legally allowed to be, and 29 states exempt breastfeeding from their public indecency statutes, noted the Idaho Statesman.

With these bills, the United States has joined the UK, Australia and other countries around the world in protecting nursing mothers, noted People.