If you've ever been in labor or supported a laboring person, you probably remember that moment when the doctor or midwife says, "We are almost there. OK, take a deep breath. I need a big push!" Right then, everything in the room stills as everyone prepares to support the BIG PUSH!
We are at precisely that pivotal moment with the PUMP Act. While we hoped for a vote last week, other negotiations took center stage. But please know: this labor is still progressing. The House will focus on committee work over the next two weeks, so we must use this time to double down on our PUMP Act advocacy efforts.
We are in a pregnant pause filled with grit and tenacity as we gather our collective reserves for one more BIG PUSH for the PUMP Act.
This push requires more emails and more and more and more phone calls to your legislators in the House of Representatives. Last week, I used the PUMP Act Toolkit to guide my actions, and you can still use it to galvanize people in your circles! I emailed all my representatives on Monday. On Tuesday, I called my Congressperson! On Wednesday, I posted on social media. I didn’t have a good pumping at work story to share, so on Thursday and Friday, I lovingly harassed my sister, cousins, and several close friends to send emails and make calls too. Now, I am nudging you.
GET READY TO PUSH! We all know labor is hard work, but the payoff is indescribable. Let's bear down, especially in rural and suburban districts, because legislators are getting misinformation about the PUMP Act, and they are not fully on board. They need a deluge of phone calls right now!
To call, text PUMP to 747464 (provided by MomsRising) or call 1-855-880-2155 (provided by ACLU). You'll be prompted to enter your zip code, and then will be connected with a receptionist in the office of your congressperson.
All you need to do is let them know your name, your address, and that you want them to vote yes on the PUMP Act, House Bill 3110.
I've sent emails, done Hill visits, and even testified before Congress, but I've never called my Representative about a specific piece of legislation. I was nervous. And I did it anyway. I followed the script shared in the PUMP Toolkit, and it was EASY! My friend and colleague, Cheryl, pulled together a helpful resource so you know exactly what to expect.
Let me level with you, in addition to harmful misinformation about the PUMP Act, there is other legislation floating that purports to support pumping breaks for lactating parents. However, it would actually weaken the existing federal protections of the Break Time Law and make it harder to pump at work. Please don't let your elected officials be hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, and run amok. GET ON THE PHONE! Assert your desire that as a constituent of their district, you want them to vote for the PUMP ACT when it comes to the House floor for a recorded vote.
Listen, we are about to make history together. Yes, birthing a collective baby is a big deal, but in all seriousness, the PUMP Act is the first standalone lactation bill to get a recorded vote on the House floor. As a field, we've expertly integrated lactation support into varied legislation, including federal appropriations, health care, transportation, defense, etc. Other lactation-specific bills passed via unanimous consent (the 2016 BABES Act) or a voice vote (the 2019 Small Airport Mothers' Room Act ), but our collective labor of love is getting the PUMP Act to the House floor for a recorded vote. Don't stop pushing now!
Our moment of euphoria is so close. If you have already called your Congressperson, get up and dance! Now, whip your phone out to text and call your friends and colleagues. Go beyond posting on your page. Start sliding in the DMs and sending instant messages. Directly encourage people in your networks to join this effort. And, if you're my friend on Facebook, expect a message!
WE CAN DO THIS! Release the breath, and let’s all engage in this next BIG PUSH for the PUMP Act! With more phone calls and emails, we can radically advance the policy and practices to create a more tightly woven landscape of breastfeeding support for families. We can provide basic protections to the nine million people who, under federal law, have no right to break time and a private space to express milk at work.
Maybe you are tired of hearing about the PUMP Act from USBC, but we can't stop and won't stop pushing now! This labor is happening. Please help it along by calling your legislators in the House and urging your network—family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, high school friends on social media, basically everybody you know—to do the same.
I'll leave you with the immortal words of Malcolm X: "...early in my life, I had learned that if you want something, you had better make some noise."
Make some noise for the PUMP Act. PUSH! PUSH! PUSH!