Right to Breastfeed on Federal Property
On May 18, 1999, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney introduce the Right to Breastfeed Act (H.R. 1848). Although it did not pass independently, a version was included in both the Treasury-Postal and Interior Appropriations bills. It was enacted as part of the Treasury-Postal Appropriations bill (H.R. 2490), Public Law 106-58, signed September 29, 1999. Section 647 states: "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a woman may breastfeed her child at any location in a Federal building or on Federal property, if the woman and her child are otherwise authorized to be present at the location."
Section 4207 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as ACA or Health Care Reform), amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), or federal wage and hour law. The amendment requires employers to provide reasonable break time and a private, non-bathroom place for nursing mothers to express breast milk during the workday, for one year after the child’s birth. The new requirements became effective when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010. Visit the Workplace Support in Federal Law page to learn more.
Payer Coverage of Breastfeeding Support and Counseling Services, Pumps and Supplies
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act also included a provision that requires coverage of preventive health services for women, including "breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling,” further defined as “comprehensive lactation support and counseling, by a trained provider during pregnancy and/or in the postpartum period, and costs for renting breastfeeding equipment." These preventive services must be covered in conjunction with each birth, beginning in the first plan year (in the individual market, policy year) that begins on or after August 1, 2012. Plans must eliminate cost-sharing for these services, meaning they can no longer charge a patient a copayment, coinsurance, or deductible when services are delivered by a network provider.
There are several sources of information on state legislation:
- The National Conference of State Legislatures provides compiled listings of breastfeeding-related state legislation;
- The U.S. Department of Labor Women's Bureau publishes a map with details of employment protections for workers who are pregnant or nursing; and
- The National Partnership for Women & Families maintains a work and family policy database with an overview of bills proposed and laws passed in various states.