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Running head: LEGISLATIVE ACTION PAPER

LEGISLATIVE ACTION PAPER 21

Legislative Action Paper

Dr. Erin Comartin

Adrienne Agar

Oakland University

Adrienne Agar

44095 Trent Drive

Clinton Township, MI, 48038

March 21, 2014

The Honorable Randy Richardville

Majority Senate Leader Randy Richardville P.O. Box 30036 Lansing, MI 48909-7536

Dear Senator Richardville:

My name is Adrienne Agar and I reside in Clinton Township, MI. I am currently a junior in the Social Work Program at Oakland University. I am writing to you to concerning “Bill No. 0464” which aims to amend the “Elliot – Larsen civil rights act”, 1976 PA 453, to prohibit discriminatory acts against woman who breastfeed.

According to the American Public Health Association, breastfeeding promotes a wide array of health benefits for infants such as it improves cognitive advances, heightens and strengthens the immune system, and reduces the risks for obesity. These studies show that mothers who breastfeed also receive health benefits such as a quicker weight loss post-pregnancy and lowered risks for obtaining breast or ovarian cancers. Here in the United States, nearly 69% of adults are overweight or obese and breast cancer stands as the most prevalent cancer among women. Considering these statistics, I believe the protective health benefits of breastfeeding are reason alone to recognize the importance of this bill.

However, while it seems that breastfeeding, a biological attribute developed by most women during pregnancy, should simply be an organic right for women, seemingly this is not the case. When is the last time you can recall observing a mother breast feeding her child in public? Yet, if you can recall an instance, can you also recall the looks of people around her? Unfortunately, discrimination against mothers who breastfeed in public plays a definite role in our society today. It is my firm belief that a natural ability which provides survival, growth, and life should be accepted, protected and promoted, never frowned upon or discriminated against.

While the state of Michigan does have a law to prevent the application of public nudity to breast feeding mothers, we are one of six states in this country to still have no laws that specifically allow a woman to breastfeed in public. Michigan also has no protection laws for breast feeding mothers in the workplace. Finally, as indirectly noted, we have no laws to prevent discriminatory acts against women who breastfeed their children in public.

Please do whatever is in your authority to aid the progress of this bill and give breastfeeding mothers the support they undoubtedly deserve. Many other states have already passed various laws concerning breastfeeding to support and protect women. It would truly be a loss for the state of Michigan to not recognize a woman’s natural right to freely and unashamedly breastfeed her child.

As a recommendation for this bill, I feel that a mandated promotion supporting anti-discriminatory practices against women who breastfeed should be placed in all public facilities. While a written law prohibiting discrimination acts against women who breastfeed their child is a great place to start, I believe the best way to change an outlook or action is through awareness. By placing promotions in plain view of all public establishments, individuals may become more aware of their bias towards other, will then be less likely to engage in unlawful discrimination, and may now consider possible benefits to breastfeeding practices.

As your constitute, I urge your support for SB No. 0464 of 2013 to protect the civil rights of women who breastfeed their children. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Adrienne Agar

44095 Trent Drive

Clinton Township, MI, 48038

(586) 265 - 6728

aeagar2@oakland.edu

Adrienne Agar

44095 Trent Drive

Clinton Township, MI, 48038

March 21, 2014

The Honorable Tory Rocca

Senator Tory Rocca P.O. Box 30036 Lansing, MI 48909-7536

Dear Senator Rocca:

My name is Adrienne Agar and I reside in Clinton Township, MI. I am currently a junior in the Social Work Program at Oakland University. I am writing to you to concerning “Bill No. 0464” which aims to amend the “Elliot – Larsen civil rights act”, 1976 PA 453, to prohibit discriminatory acts against woman who breastfeed.

According to the American Public Health Association, breastfeeding promotes a wide array of health benefits for infants such as it improves cognitive advances, heightens and strengthens the immune system, and reduces the risks for obesity. These studies show that mothers who breastfeed also receive health benefits such as a quicker weight loss post-pregnancy and lowered risks for obtaining breast or ovarian cancers. Here in the United States, nearly 69% of adults are overweight or obese and breast cancer stands as the most prevalent cancer among women. Considering these statistics, I believe the protective health benefits of breastfeeding are reason alone to recognize the importance of this bill.

However, while it seems that breastfeeding, a biological attribute developed by most women during pregnancy, should simply be an organic right for women, seemingly this is not the case. When is the last time you can recall observing a mother breast feeding her child in public? Yet, if you can recall an instance, can you also recall the looks of people around her? Unfortunately, discrimination against mothers who breastfeed in public plays a definite role in our society today. It is my firm belief that a natural ability which provides survival, growth, and life should be accepted, protected and promoted, never frowned upon or discriminated against.

While the state of Michigan does have a law to prevent the application of public nudity to breast feeding mothers, we are one of six states in this country to still have no laws that specifically allow a woman to breastfeed in public. Michigan also has no protection laws for breast feeding mothers in the workplace. Finally, as indirectly noted, we have no laws to prevent discriminatory acts against women who breastfeed their children in public.

Please do whatever is in your authority to aid the progress of this bill and give breastfeeding mothers the support they undoubtedly deserve. Many other states have already passed various laws concerning breastfeeding to support and protect women. It would truly be a loss for the state of Michigan to not recognize a woman’s natural right to freely and unashamedly breastfeed her child.

As a recommendation for this bill, I feel that a mandated promotion supporting anti-discriminatory practices against women who breastfeed should be placed in all public facilities. While a written law prohibiting discrimination acts against women who breastfeed their child is a great place to start, I believe the best way to change an outlook or action is through awareness. By placing promotions in plain view of all public establishments, individuals may become more aware of their bias towards other, will then be less likely to engage in unlawful discrimination, and may now consider possible benefits to breastfeeding practices.

As your constitute, I urge your support for SB No. 0464 of 2013 to protect the civil rights of women who breastfeed their children. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Adrienne Agar

44095 Trent Drive

Clinton Township, MI, 48038

(586) 265 - 6728

aeagar2@oakland.edu

Legislative and Article Summary

The Legislation

The legislation I chose for the this assignment was SB No. 0464, which is bill to amend 1976 PA 453 by adding the prohibition of discriminatory acts against women who breastfeed their children. This bill entails the prevention of refusal of goods, services, and accommodations to women who breastfeed in public establishments. This bill also includes the exclusion of making a woman’s attendance feel unwelcome and disagreeable due to the fact that she is breastfeeding her child.

Reasoning for Legislation Choice

I chose this legislation for both personal and objective reasons. Firstly I chose this bill because I have had a personal family experience of being discriminated against for breastfeeding in public. I can distinctly remember a time when my mother was breastfeeding my younger brother at a local restaurant, completely covered, and my family and I received non approving looks from both customers and employees. Interestingly enough most of the discrimination came from other women. After researching this topic of breast feeding I realized Michigan did not have any distinct laws to protect women who breastfeed their children in public. Not only does breastfeeding provide many important health benefits, but considering this is a natural ability most women possess, I feel it should simply never be a factor for judgment.

Reasoning for Article Choice

I chose to use the “Breast Cancer” article from Centers for disease control and Prevention for my letter because it had many important statistics concerning breast cancer in the United States. These statics were important because breastfeeding has been proven to in some cases lessen a woman’s risk for this cancer. I chose to use the “Breastfeeding Laws” article from Breastfeeding State Laws because this laid out the demographics for the topic of breastfeeding laws and where Michigan lies on this spectrum. I chose to use the “Working mothers, breastfeeding, and the law” article fro