Airports to Ensure Lactation Spaces for Travelers: USBC Applauds Airport Lactation Accommodation Provisions in FAA Reauthorization

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2018
Contact: Cheryl Lebedevitch
Phone: 773-359-1549 x 21
Email: office@usbreastfeeding.org

Airports to Ensure Lactation Spaces for Travelers

USBC Applauds Airport Lactation Accommodation Provisions in FAA Reauthorization

CHICAGO, Illinois—The United States Breastfeeding Committee celebrates the passage of airport lactation accommodation provisions in the Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act of 2018. Signed by the President on Friday, October 5, the five-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) included language that requires airports to provide lactation rooms that are accessible to the public.

The bipartisan Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act was first introduced by Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Representative Stephen Knight (R-CA-25) in May 2017. The provisions were later incorporated into FAA Reauthorization bills where they were met without opposition.

All large- and medium-sized airports are now required to provide a clean, private, non-bathroom space in each terminal for the expression of breast milk. The space must be accessible to persons with disabilities, available in each terminal building after the security checkpoint, and include a place to sit, a table or other flat surface, and an electrical outlet. The bill also makes grants available to airports to help them make these critical renovations. The Act also requires airports to provide a baby changing table in one men's and one women's restroom in each passenger terminal building.

Since the FAM Act's introduction in the House and Senate, the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee has actively advocated for its passage. Using USBC's online action tool, individual constituents sent more than 1,800 messages to their Congressional Representatives in support of the FAM Act. In addition, USBC recently delivered letters of support and thanks to Senator Duckworth and Representative Knight signed by 43 national organizations and 31 state/local organizations.

"As the national breastfeeding coalition in the United States, we are celebrating this passage as another piece of the puzzle for comprehensive breastfeeding support in our country. No matter what they're doing or where they are, people who are lactating need to express milk every few hours. An airport is just one of many environments where people face challenges trying to find a clean, private space to nurse or pump. We also applaud the inclusion of wheelchair accessibility in this language, an important mark of equity." says Amelia Psmythe, Interim Executive Director of the USBC.

"This is a strong step forward toward a world where breastfeeding families across our country are seamlessly supported wherever they are—at their places of work, in their communities, in an airport, anywhere. No one likes flight delays but for people who are lactating, extra time in the airport can mean finding a place to express milk or risking a dwindling milk supply or even infection. We look forward to building on this momentum and continuing to support breastfeeding people and families in all places and spaces." says Mona Liza Hamlin, Chair of the USBC.

"Many airports have already installed lactation spaces for travelers and airport employees, and these provisions will help ensure that travelers can count on having access to a clean, private space wherever they go. Combined with passage of the BABES act last session, which requires the Transportation Security Administration to provide ongoing training on TSA Special Procedures related to breast milk, formula, and infant feeding equipment, these new provisions help ensure that all lactating travelers have a smooth and supported experience in airports." says Psmythe.

"Breastfeeding in public is protected in all 50 states and families are encouraged to nurse wherever and whenever they are comfortable. These lactation accommodation provisions ensure that those who need or prefer a private space have access to one" says Hamlin.

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The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee is national nonprofit organization that works to "drive collaborative efforts for policy and practices that create a landscape of breastfeeding support across the United States," with a focus on the values of leadership, integrity and inclusion. USBC is made up of member organizations, including federal agencies and national non-profit organizations, state breastfeeding coalitions, and action-focused work groups known as Constellations.

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