Monthly Archives: April 2010

is all government intervention bad? an exercise in free thought.

Y’all should check out this post over at at Newsreal. For those too lazy to click over, allow me to summarize:  some conservatives are upset because Obamacare has stipulated — prepared to be shocked! — that companies need to provide a space which is not a bathroom for breastfeeding moms to pump. The outrage! The nanny state needs to stay away from our boobies! The author of that post argues that, well, hey, she managed to pump in a bathroom, and she did just fine, so why change now? The government can’t tell me what to do and how dare they stipulate that I have to breastfeed and blah blah blah.

To which I reply: well, the government also eventually allowed my great-grandmother to vote, but she should have just sucked it up and been happy about allowing her husband to vote for her. What’s good enough for her is good enough for all of us. Right?


And blacks were also eventually allowed to vote, but how dare the government intervene!



Which leads me to my next question: is all government interference bad? By definition? And is providing a place for breastfeeding mothers to pump that is not a bathroom akin to forcing her to breastfeed against her will?

I would argue, no. In the same way that providing women and blacks the right to vote is not akin to forcing them to vote one way or the other or even at all, providing a space for mothers to pump in the workplace which is not a bathroom is simply providing access to a continuing breastfeeding relationship after going back to work.

What is the purpose of government? Isn’t it to provide freedom? Without this “government intervention,” are working mothers really free to breastfeed and go back to work? To those who argue, well, shouldn’t the market decide how that will play out? But what if the market decides that women shouldn’t work at all, and especially those who have chosen to try to have a family and work outside the home, or that customers seem to really like it better when disabled people are kept in the back, or…?

It’s just astonishing to me that the same people who would decry abortion also don’t want to see those women who chose to keep those babies have an easier time taking care of them once they are out of the womb. And never mind that breastfeeding actually saves lives — once the kid is out of the uterus, who cares? And that poor mother who chose to keep her baby rather than abort it, she doesn’t have a place to pump at work? Too bad for her. Just give the kid formula. Which she can’t afford. Oh, and the baby is now sick more often because she couldn’t continue to breastfeed? And she can’t take time off because she can’t afford it? Too bad. But good for you for keeping your baby and CHOOSING LIFE. *pat on back*

I realize I sound like a total hippie freak, but you know what? I don’t really care right now. The fact of the matter is that breastfeeding is a public health issue, and anyone with a lick of common sense would see that supporting breastfeeding by the rather innocent provision of a place to pump which is not a bathroom not only makes sense for the health of our nation, but financially as well.

Oh, but all government interference is bad. Ask any woman who voted in the past election. It’s terrible when the broken system changes, isn’t it?