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Jan 5, 2015 4:51 PM

NH legislative effort to require employers let new moms breastfeed


Giving new mothers the right to breastfeed at work: It's already the topic of a federal lawsuit in New Hampshire, now new state legislation to try and give women this protected access.

State Senator Martha Fuller Clark, a Portsmouth Democrat, says private and public employers must give this accommodation as mothers for financial reasons, often return to work right after the child's birth.

"And if we want to have a healthy population in this state, I think we need to make sure they are supported in the workplace,'' Clark said.

Meanwhile, Clark admits knowing little about Katherine Frederick, the Intervale woman who sued the state for refusing her bid to go to day care to feed her child.

A health and human services lawyer told Frederick having the baby in the work space would be too disruptive.

Frederick's lawyer, Benjamin King, said the state presented the mother with a can't win choice.

"The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services placed her in the untenable position of having to choose between the nutritional needs of her child and her job,'' King said.

Lawyers for the state have filed in US District Court a motion to dismiss all charges.

Clark's bill closely tracks 25 states with similar laws and the affordable care act that says "every employer shall provide quote reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child.''

Kate Frederick's own bid for state legislation in the name of son, Devon, fell flat in 2014.

Kevin Landrigan can be reached at 513-9773 or klandrigan@nh1.com.


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