President Donald Trump signed a bill to require U.S. airports to set aside space for mothers nursing their children.
On October 5, the president signed a five-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration Act (FAA), which included a mandate from Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-WI) requiring large and medium-sized airports to install private lactation rooms for breastfeeding mothers by October 1, 2020.
Duckworth’s provision, the Friendly Airports for Mothers Act (FAM), would require the airports to provide nursing mothers with a private space beyond the security checkpoints in each terminal.
The spaces would also have to be separate from a bathroom, shielded from the public, and have seating areas, flat surfaces, electrical outlets, a door that can lock, and be accessible to those with disabilities.
“This is a strong step forward toward a world where breastfeeding families across our country are seamlessly supported wherever they are— at their places of work, in their communities, in an airport, anywhere,” said Mona Liza Hamlin, chair of the United States Breastfeeding Committee. “No one likes flight delays, but for people who are lactating, extra time in the airport can mean finding a place to express milk or risking a dwindling milk supply or even infection.”
Hamlin added that all 50 states protect breastfeeding in public, encouraging families to nurse at their convenience.
“These lactation accommodation provisions ensure that those who need or prefer a private space have access to one,” she said.
Trump’s signed legislation also included another Duckworth provision requiring airports to install baby-changing tables in men and women’s restrooms in all airport terminals.
The president has publicly voiced his support for breastfeeding mothers, despite a July New York Times report with anonymous sources stating he favored baby formula manufacturers:
The failing NY Times Fake News story today about breast feeding must be called out. The U.S. strongly supports breast feeding but we don’t believe women should be denied access to formula. Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2018
Trump tweeted that “the U.S. strongly supports breastfeeding” but also said women should be able to access formula to nurse their children to prevent “malnutrition and poverty.”