L.A. City Hall Opens New Lactation Room Under Obamacare Mandate
Breastfeeding: So hot right now!
While supermoms like TIME covergirl and L.A. resident Jamie Lynne Grumet are fighting the good fight to breastfeed their toddlers in public (through radical nurse-ins called Boobie Paloozas; we kid you not), the female employees and visitors at L.A. City Hall would like to do the deed in private, thank you very much.
So today, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa did the city's more conservative mothers a solid...
... by opening a secluded "lactation room" on the 2nd floor of City Hall.
"We want to make sure that people who are coming back after having a child can feel comfortable and safe here in the city of Los Angeles," said the mayor at today's ribbon-cutting. Councilman Tony Cardenas, who introduced the motion, added that "it's just inappropriate" to force a baby to breastfeed in the bathroom. "Who wants to eat in a bathroom?" he implored.
— Dorothy Parker (@AlgonquinWest) August 14, 2012
But aside from the immense humanity of it all, L.A. City Hall was technically breaking both state and federal law by not having a lactation room.
The California Lactation Accommodation Law of 2002 required that "employers shall make a reasonable effort to provide employees with the use of a room or other location for the employee to express milk. ... This space should not be a toilet stall."
So in 2009, the Breastfeeding Task Force of Greater Los Angeles (not to be super immature or anything, but um, LOL) looked into L.A. City Hall's noncompliance, and submitted a giant stack of evidence showing how the city would actually benefit from a room reserved exclusively for lactating.
And by 2010, special breastfeeding rooms had been federally mandated by Obamacare -- under a little-known clause on Page 1239 requiring businesses with over 50 employees to provide "a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk."
So that settled it: V.I.P. breastfeeding for all!
Jose Cornejo, former chief of staff to Councilman Cardenas, reminisces on the inspiration for City Hall's new hot spot:
"This is a product of a motion that was inspired by loving caring wife, Lupita Sanchez Cornejo, after the birth of our son. She came to visit me at City Hall and there was no place to breast feed Esteban. I then went to Councilman Cardenas and said we need a place for new mothers to feed their children in a quiet relaxing atmosphere. If a woman wants privacy, her only option should not be a public bathroom. You wouldn't want to eat your lunch in the bathroom - would you?? He agreed. Thanks Lupita and good job Councilman."
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