Mark Lewis makes the case at the Daily Caller that supporting mothers who breastfeed is a position conservatives should consider as an extension of family values.
Breastfeeding advocacy is perfectly consistent with the values that cultural conservatives ought to espouse. Why should this be a liberal issue? Were I advising a socially conservative group, I would suggest embracing this issue.
Why not team with moms in various states to lobby for changes to the law? This issue works on a variety of levels. First, it’s the right thing to do for babies and moms. Second, it’s consistent with traditional conservative values. And lastly, it’s good PR.
Inasmuch as the bogus “war on women” meme isn’t going away any time soon, conservatives ought to highlight the many areas where they are demonstrably pro-woman, pro-child, and pro-family.
Lewis raised the point in response to a story about a Missouri mom (Laura Trickle, seen below with her son, Axel) who was found in contempt of court for showing up to jury duty with her infant, saying she could not serve because she was breastfeeding and her child would not take a bottle. (The judge delayed the fine, as the Missouri General Assembly considers new legislation.) Only twelve states currently excuse nursing mothers from jury duty.
Having spent nearly six years of my life nursing seven children (including twins), I have to admit a bias on this issue. I know there are many women physically unable to breastfeed, or who find it too difficult with their work situation, or who just want the freedom to choose not to. Last year, Greg Pollowitz criticized the way New York mayor Bloomberg was “pushing” breastfeeding. I understand that we don’t want a “nanny state” making moms feel guilty or even forcing them to breastfeed. We have to find a balance between promoting a natural part of motherhood and preserving personal liberty.
But, there are many benefits to breastfeeding, not just for a mother and child, but, by extension, families and society. And if we don’t join up in the cause, we will be railroaded by liberals who will advance their over-regulating agendas. We need to make it clear that advocacy does not mean enforcement, and it should always be about encouraging moms as they make the choice which creates the best end result for their family.
UPDATE: A good rebuttal to the article about potential government overreach linked above was posted on Slate this afternoon.