RUSH: Let’s talk a little health care here. Paul Mirengoff at the PowerLineBlog.com: ‘Buried in the newly enacted health care reform legislation is a provision that amends the Fair Labor Standards Act to require employers to provide a ‘reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for a nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk.’ In addition, the employer must provide for this purpose ‘a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.’ Businesses that employ fewer than 50 employees are exempt from these requirements if they can show that following them would impose an ‘undue hardship.’ The burden of proof will be on the employer and may be difficult to meet in most cases.’
This is in the health care reform. ‘On the other hand, things could have been worse for employers. Yesterday, April 1, a wag claimed that, but for Republican intervention, the legislation would have required: a windowed room, with a view of a tree, lace curtains and a pleasing floral wall paper. The ‘mother’s retreat’ must be equipped with dimmable lighting, a La Leche approved breast-feeding rocker, and be stocked with warm towels.’ Could have been worse. At any rate, that’s in the health care bill.
RUSH: Let’s go to Coral in Groton, Connecticut, as we go back to the phones. Hi, Coral. Welcome to the EIB Network. Great to have you here.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. I’m really happy to talk to you. I’m a first-time caller, and I love you. Just, you know, a quick thing you had said earlier about the article that they wrote and they basically named it off as old white men who are upset. Well, you know what? I’m a young American Indian woman, and I am pissed off. I love you, I think you speak to a bunch of generations and I just happened to hear the piece that you did about breast-feeding, all that stuff that they put in the health care bill about employers having to provide for breast-feeding mothers.
RUSH: Exactly right.
CALLER: I have two kids. I breast-fed both of them. I worked, and I went to school. I did it in a nurse’s office, I did it in a bathroom, and, you know what? It’s your choice. You make arrangements, you do it yourself. It shouldn’t be in a government law, it shouldn’t be any kind of arrangement. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe in breast-feeding, I think it’s great for the children. I did it for both of mine and I know the government will probably use the excuse that this is our way of encouraging mothers to breast-feed. Well, I’m sorry, if they’re going to put restrictions on employers to encourage people to do the right thing, what are they going to do next? Are they going to encourage employers not to give employees smoke breaks because they want to encourage people not to smoke cigarettes? I think they shouldn’t have a say in that aspect of our lives, it’s a choice, and I’m sorry, if you’re a mother and you have a kid and you want to breast feed, then you do it on your own terms, you don’t need the government telling your employer where you’re going to do it, how you’re going to do it, when you’re going to do it, and that they need to provide you with flowers and trees and —
RUSH: You probably are pretty unique in that, Coral. I think a lot of breast feeders would love having the government tell their company you gotta give them a private room, no windows and so forth, can’t be a bathroom.
CALLER: It’s just not fair.
RUSH: And make that room available for a year.
CALLER: It’s not right, it’s a decision that we make and, yes, it’s good for your kids but it shouldn’t impact your job. If that’s the way you’re going to be and if you really want to think about it that way maybe you should think about working somewhere else, working at a different time, or, you know, there’s a lot of mothers out there who don’t work at all now. I’m not saying that’s the right option for everybody, but, you know, you should not have special concessions made for you because you choose to be a breast-feeding mother, just like I don’t think people should have special concessions made because they choose to —
RUSH: Coral, this has been a long time coming. They started with things like this with six months maternity leave paid and then sick-leave and then personal time off to go visit the veterinarian and you have to get paid. It was unpaid at first and then they knew that incrementally they would make the employer pay for all this time off they were mandating. This is just more of this regime trying to control business. Now, I need to ask you a question, since you are a breast-feeder. When I read the details of what’s in this bill about breast-feeding, I have never heard, because I am not a breast-feeder, I have never heard the term express. What is express milk? I think I know what that means —
CALLER: Basically they sell these machines that look like — everybody’s seen in an informational video, they look like the things that they hold up to cows’ udders and it uses a certain amount of suction to express the milk. This way when you’re not with your infant, say your infant is in day care or with a family member, or just at home and you are away, you have to continue to pump the milk or express the milk so that you continue to make it. If you don’t express it, i.e., back in the day before women weren’t with their infants all day, if the child wasn’t eating as much, her body knew to make less. So if you’re away from your child for long periods of time, eight or nine hours at a job, then what ends up happening is your body thinks the child is not eating, so you’re not producing as much milk. So you do have to pump. But, you know what? It’s like ten, 15 minutes, sitting real quick at the machine that takes cares of it —
RUSH: You mean kind of like milking a cow?
CALLER: — it’s not intense, it’s not difficult. I mean, I went to school and worked with both of my kids. And, you know what? I made do.
RUSH: I have no doubt you did, no doubt at all. I have no doubt that you master every situation you encounter. Now, this sounds like just what they do to milk cows.
CALLER: That’s it exactly, yeah.
RUSH: Who knew?
RUSH: You could probably get a subsidy for it. (laughing) Anyway, Coral, I’m glad you called, it’s great, you’ve been great.
RUSH: I just got a very short message from a very close friend about the discussion of suction and breast-feeding on the radio program. ‘TMI, bye.’ Too much information, bye. The one thing about this that just now hit me, what the hell is a woman doing with an infant at work in the first place? (interruption) Oh. The baby is not there. Okay, that’s what expressing the milk is. Oh, okay. So it is like milking a cow. And then you put the expressed milk in a container, refrigerate it for later usage? Oh, okay, ’cause I was gonna say, does the kid have to be your own and can it be up to age 27? ‘Cause in the health care bill your kids can be on your insurance policy up to age 27. You heard the old joke, ‘I had a nightmare last night, I dreamed I was Dolly Parton’s baby and she was not breast-feeding me.’ Or you could use it about Raquel Welch. That’s a very old joke.