Contact: Cheryl Lebedevitch
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Lactation Spaces for Travelers Expanded to Small Airports
USBC Applauds Small Airport Lactation Accommodation Legislation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 2, 2020
CHICAGO, Illinois—The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee celebrates the passage of the Friendly Airports for Mother's (FAM) Improvement Act, signed into law on October 30, 2020. The new law requires small hub airports to maintain a clean, private, non-bathroom lactation space and a baby changing table in at least one men's and one women's restroom in each passenger terminal building.
Already, large and medium hub airports must comply with these requirements by 2021 as part of the Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act, signed into law in 2018. The new law extends these provisions to small hub airports, which must come into compliance by 2023. Airports can use Airport Improvement Program funds for the purpose of complying with the new requirement. In total, this law will ensure that breastfeeding people traveling through an estimated 71 airports in 37 states and territories will have access to lactation spaces. That's a positive change for thousands of families through the United States!
"When traveling, you'd never be expected to eat your meal in a bathroom stall, yet for many new mothers, that's the reality they face," Duckworth said. "Two years ago, with the passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act, Congress took the first step in making air travel easier for new parents by passing my bipartisan FAM Act. Now, we are building upon that success by ensuring small airports and their passengers aren't left behind with the FAM Improvement Act, which recognizes that all airports, large, medium and small, can play a role in improving the health of families by supporting breastfeeding travelers," says Senator Tammy Duckworth.
While breastfeeding in public is protected in all 50 states, lactation accommodation provisions like these ensure that people who need or prefer a private space can access one.
"The Friendly Airports for Mothers Improvement Act helps keep our nation's families healthy by ensuring that breastfeeding travelers and airport employees (in airports of all sizes) have access to appropriate facilities. FAMI is an important step toward ensuring all families have the right and the ability to pump or feed at the breast or chest wherever they are and wherever they go. This is part of a broader public health agenda to deconstruct barriers to human milk feeding at work, school, the airport, or any community space where a parent might be," says Nikia Sankofa, Executive Director for the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the vision of thriving families and communities.
The USBC is a long-time champion of legislation supporting traveling parents. In 2019, the USBC coordinated an organizational sign on letter thanking Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) for introducing the Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Improvement Act. The letter was signed by 36 international, national, and tribal organizations and 52 regional, state, and local organizations. The USBC also coordinated an organizational sign on letter thanking Representative Carol Miller (R-WV-3) for introducing the House companion bill, the Small Airports Mothers' Room Act. The letter was signed by 27 international, national, and tribal organizations and 33 regional, state, and local organizations. In addition, Sankofa published an op-ed in The Hill, entitled "One small change for America's small airports: One big difference for breastfeeding families," which has been shared over 1,100 times.
"We salute Senator Duckworth and all the breastfeeding champions in the House and Senate for their efforts to advance support for families, regardless of where they live. We appreciate their vision and commitment to our nation's babies and public health!" says Sankofa. She continued, "Advocacy for this bill occurred before the converging health crises of 2020 that has turned much of our attention to infant and young child feeding in emergencies. So, it feels especially good to celebrate this collective victory as a win that energizes our ongoing efforts to create a landscape of breastfeeding support."
The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee is a 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. The USBC is made up of more than 100 member organizations, including federal agencies and national nonprofit organizations, state breastfeeding coalitions, and action-focused work groups known as Constellations.
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