Always campaigning politicians are on the prowl for issues that may stir up the voting public. Recently, Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann told a radio talk show host that Michelle Obama’s efforts to promote breastfeeding and the IRS’s announcement that nursing supplies that aide in the practice can be deducted from tax returns amounts to a “new definition [of] the nanny state.”
Sarah Palin also jumped on the bandwagon of challenging the First Lady's breastfeeding initiative with this comment at an appearance before business professionals in Long Island: "No wonder Michelle Obama's telling everybody, 'you'd better breastfeed your baby.' Yeah, you'd better, because the price of milk is so high right now!"
Choosing to breastfeed or bottlefeed your baby is a very personal decision for every mother. When family and parenting issues start to be used as political cannonballs, parents should be concerned about the possible negative impact of these political jibes on people's understanding of the importance of these critical parenting decisions.
Here are some discussion questions to get us started:
- Who should stand up for breastfeeding rights in the workplace and public areas? Legislators? Unions? Lobbyists? Parenting groups?
- Is the choice to breastfeed or bottlefeed too personal of a topic for public debate in Congress and the media?
- Do moms want political jockeying regarding Michelle Obama's breastfeeding initiative to take away from politicians focusing on the whole spectrum of children's issues needing individualized attention, informed discussion, and targeted funding?
A special thanks to our Moms Council: Patrice Athanasidy, Laura Belfiore, Carolyn DePaolo, Laurie Gershgorn and Kelly Galimi.