Albany, NY Yesterday, Assembly Member Karines Reyes (D-NY) introduced her first prime-sponsored bill A.5975, an act to amend the definition of a pregnancy-related condition. The bill passed unanimously (107-0) in the New York State Assembly and awaits its vote in the Senate.
The bill protects new mothers by giving them the agency to take the time they need to pump breastmilk in the workplace. It is now a human rights violation if an employer denies a woman the opportunity to nourish her child at work whether it be through breastfeeding or pumping breastmilk.
Previously, a pregnancy-related condition referred to the inhibition of the exercise of normal bodily functions related to pregnancy or childbirth. The purpose of Reyes bill is extending pregnancy-related conditions to include lactation postpartum. As a registered healthcare provider, Reyes explains the benefits and significance of women nursing. She states: Human milk is the most natural and most complete source of nutrition for infants. The value of breastfeeding for infant nutrition and maternal health outcomes has been long recognized. For mothers breastfeeding has been found to reduce the risks of breast cancer and ovarian cancer and for infants to help build immunity.
The new amendment makes it a human right for the modern woman to live as a mother and a professional without facing discrimination by her employer. Reyes expresses the need for change in womens rights at work. She affirms, Women are an integral part of our states workforce and should be guaranteed the right to use break time at work to provide breast milk for their newborn child, She further explains, The clarification provided in this legislation would protect breastfeeding women by ensuring employers are following our states Human Rights Law.
The next steps for this legislation are to be considered by the New York State Senate and to be signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Once enacted, the legislation would take effect immediately.