By Krisdee Donmoyer
Nurse-ins are sexy.
Not hubba hubba sexy, of course. They have an allure. Many breastfeeding advocates enjoy the powerful feeling of protest, the standing in solidarity to support breastfeeding mothers and babies. Social media really amplifies the feeling, too – it’s exciting to feel swept up in something bigger than yourself, that feels so fast and furious and righteous.
Legislation, by contrast, plods along at an excruciating rate. In Texas the legislature is in session for 140 days every two years. It hardly seems long enough to get anything big done, especially when bills move so slowly through a process designed not to pass them, but to kill them. But when you consider how many times we have to do laundry in 140 days, how many meals we’ll make, how many diapers we’ll change, the number of crises or illnesses that may occur, the play dates and classes and projects and appointments – 140 days is a very, very long time to stay focused on a bill.
Passing breastfeeding legislation requires stamina. It requires that, when we are distracted for a time by the things we should rightly be focused on – our families and ourselves, we come back to it at the right time to support it through the next step in the process. In Texas, we are at that next step.
You likely heard about Rep. Debbie Riddle’s comments regarding House Bill 1706, which would strengthen the right-to-breastfeed law in Texas. She whipped up a furor in the breastfeeding community not long ago. HB 1706, as well as a pump at work bill, 741, have since passed unanimously out of the Business and Industry Committee. But that was just the first step.
The fact is, Rep. Riddle will never have a shot at voting for or against HB 1706 if we don’t move it through the next step. House bills 1706 and 741 are both in the Calendars Committee at the moment. Where they will die before they even come to a vote, if we don’t give them some of that fantastic energy that we find when faced with something offensive like Rep. Riddle’s remarks or a nursing in public incident.
And if enough people call and write the Calendars Committee and the bills are set for the House floor, then we must maintain that energy and contact the representatives and get them voted out of the House.
And if we can get out of the House at the beginning of May, then we must keep up our stamina and push them both through the Senate.
Legislation is a hard, long term project. But the results, when passed, are long lasting and far reaching. So really, legislation is pretty darn alluring, too. Maybe in a movie actor playing a nerd before the glasses come off kind of a way, but still, sexy.
Please help make these bills law. Go to www.TXBFLeg.com to find out how you can help.