A company working with the Clinton Foundation is being charged with endangering the health of African American babies in Detroit via a program that offers cash to buy breast milk from mothers of newborns.
The breast milk buying program is sponsored by Medolac Laboratories, a prominent member of the Clinton Global Initiative. Calling itself a “public benefit corporation,” Medolac says it is dedicated to spreading “access” to breast milk.
But critics of the program charge that the offer of money for breast milk is to close to an act of exploitation in Detroit. They feel that the cash offer is an unfair enticement and may find lower income mothers in Detroit selling away the nourishment that their babies desperately need to thrive.
A group in Detroit has risen to stop the program and is sponsoring a Twitter campaign featuring the hashtag #stopmedolac. A recent Tweet using the hashtag charges that Medolac is “offering Detroit mothers a measly $1/oz. for breastmilk and selling it at 600% profit.”
The group posted an open letter to Medolac saying that the Clinton-linked company is failing to take into account the “complex social and economic challenges facing Detroit families” and laments that no Detroit-based breast feeding organizations were consulted before Medolac launched its program.
Another Tweet links the Medolac program to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Detroit resident and new mother Tori Robinson told Detroit’s Channel 4 News that she was offended by the offer of money for her breast milk and refused to participate in the program. “Maybe they feel like we’re desperate, maybe they feel like we need [the money] the most,” she said.
A representative of the Black Mother’s Breastfeeding Association, Kiddada Green, also noted that black mothers in Detroit lag far behind in feeding their children the more beneficial breast milk and with the higher number of pre-term babies born in the black community, breast milk is more necessary than ever to help babies develop into healthy toddlers.
Another breast feeding advocate told Channel 4 that if low-income black moms know they can make $6 an hour selling their breast milk, “you’re never going to give [that breast milk] to your child.” She worried that too many mothers will sell their children’s health and well being for a quick buck.
Medolac, though, denies all charges and says that it has no intention of harming Detroit’s children.
Medolac spokesperson Adrianne Weir told the media, “We would never, never encourage a woman to sell her milk exclusively to our program and take it away from her baby. We do not target women by income or race at all.”
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