Nebraska senator sets example on how to welcome mothers and babies
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Nebraska senator sets example on how to welcome mothers and babies

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State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh began her new term in the Nebraska Senate not long after giving birth to her son Barrett. But when she did, she realized that there was nowhere for her to pump breast milk. So now, she’s taking steps to change that, and make the Capitol building more baby-friendly.

According to Cavanaugh, mothers were forced to use empty offices or bathrooms to breastfeed their babies or use their breast pumps. And that, for her, was unacceptable. “When we have people coming to testify for various issues that are nursing mothers, or people who are working here that are nursing mothers, we should have a space for them that is hygienic and accessible,” she said in an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star.

Cavanaugh has since introduced a bill, with 12 co-sponsors, to create a dedicated nursing room inside the Capitol for senators, staffers, and visitors to use. The designated space would have electricity and running water available. “Could we continue to make do depending on the kindness and schedules of our coworkers?” she asked. “Probably, but this lack of designated space sends a message to every mom with young kids, whether they work here or are visiting, that we’re not welcome here.”

READ: Mississippi pro-life student’s efforts help breastfeeding moms on campus

That message — that moms with young kids are not welcome — is one that is sent to women across the country, not just in the Nebraska Capitol building. There have been some improvements; last year, a new law was passed mandating a lactation room in every terminal at every large- and medium-sized airport. But largely, accommodations for mothers, especially new mothers, are nearly non-existent. This lack of accommodations sends a message that not having children is the norm, which leads some women to consider abortion.

Some of the worst offenders in a lack of accommodations are college campuses, where it is assumed that pregnant students will have abortions. There are rarely resources available if pregnant students want to keep their babies. Pregnant workers have also been discriminated against, from sources you would expect — like Planned Parenthood — and sources you wouldn’t — like UPS.

Part of preventing abortion means building a pro-life culture, and that means making our world more accessible and welcoming for children and families… so that women facing unplanned pregnancies don’t feel like they have to make a choice between their education or careers, and their children.

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