May 11 2017
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Ahead of Mother’s Day, U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Deb Fischer (R-NE), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) announced the reintroduction of the bipartisan Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act today, which would ensure breastfeeding mothers traveling through large- and medium-sized airports have accessible, clean and convenient lactation rooms to use. A bipartisan companion bill was re-introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Steve Knight (R-CA).
“Even though we would never expect travelers to eat their meals in bathrooms stalls, new mothers are often directed to airport toilets to feed their children,” said Duckworth. “If airports still have spaces for smoking lounges in 2017, surely we can find clean and accessible spaces to allow new mothers to breastfeed their children since breastfeeding has long-lasting health benefits that protect mothers and children from illnesses.”
“Life as new a mom is often stressful and full of challenges,” said Fischer. “Our bipartisan legislation would help make life easier for nursing mothers when they are traveling in airports. It will give them peace of mind as they face the many responsibilities of motherhood.”
“New mothers already dealing with the stress of the airport shouldn’t be relegated to nursing in the last stall of the bathroom,” said McCaskill. “This is a commonsense, simple provision that’ll better accommodate moms’ needs by giving them convenient, private accommodations while traveling.”
“Women, especially new mothers, face many unique challenges that are often overlooked,” said Knight. “Breastfeeding while traveling can be a huge hassle and a needless obstacle, which is why I’m proud to work with Senators Duckworth, Fischer, and McCaskill on this measure that would address some of these challenges.”
The FAM Act passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives last year as part of a proposed reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). However, that reauthorization became ensnared in an unrelated political fight and never became law. If signed into law, the FAM Act would ensure that within two years all large and medium hub airports in the United States provide a private space that is accessible to persons with disabilities in each terminal for mothers to express breastmilk. This bill has been endorsed by the U.S. Breastfeeding Coalition, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, the National Military Family Association, the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists, the American College of Nurse-Midwives and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.