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Thursday, Apr. 24, 2014

It seems like women are being pushed back to rumble seat in New York City

Posted Friday, August 17, 2012, at 10:21 AM

"If the first woman God every made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, together women ought to be able to turn it right side up again."

Sojourner Truth

Hey, where are you, women out there who uphold the feminist movement?

Where are all of us who applaud the Suffragettes who transformed society by campaigning for property rights, guardianship of infants, access to higher education, and equal pay and legislation for women (some of which are still on-going)?

We continued to fight during the revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, catapulting a mass entry of women into the workforce. We welcomed the Pill when it emerged on the scene forever changing our traditional role within the family.

We came from riding in the backseat to not quite graduating to the driver's position, but I would venture to say that we were at least in the shotgun position.

Now, it is a step backward into the rumble seat. Without very little whimpering, women are letting New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- a man sans mammary glands and uterus -- make women of New York feel like the Wicked Witches from the West if they choose to not breast feed their infant. After all, it's not a criminal offense.

According to the New York Post, on Labor Day, Bloomberg's "Latch on NYC" policy goes into effect making it extremely difficult for new mothers who opt to use baby formula.

The Post went on to say, it is the most restrictive pro-breast milk program in the nation. If a mother requests formula for her infant, she will be given a hard-sell by having to listen to an explanation about advantages of breast feeding.

Unless she comes from Mars, she would already be educated in the pros and cons of mother's milk versus formula and would have made her decision.

In Bloomberg's program, gift bags of baby formula will no longer be given to new mothers. Formula will be locked away like medication, and staff will be required to sign it out, track its distribution and report those figures to the Health Department. (Sounds like shades of Orwell's dystopian and satirical novel "Nineteen Eighty Four" in which the Party rules were in the name of a supposed greater good.)

I agree with KJ Dell' Antonia of the New York Times who said, "It's not unreasonable to fear that along with the formula, even the most well intentioned hospital may inadvertently lock up common sense."

So far, 27 of New York's hospitals are participating in the program, according to the Huntington Post.

Before you are filled with venomous ire, I wholeheartedly believe in breastfeeding. I have read and heard a multitude of times that it is much better for the infant in providing a stronger immune system, etc. And who wouldn't want that?

However, I want the choice to remain with the mother. I didn't advise my daughter or wouldn't advise my granddaughters on that decision. I had the opportunity in a stress free environment to make my choice, and they should make their decision in the same relaxed atmosphere.

Many new mothers lack sufficient milk, have health problems, and suffer from painful nursing, just to name a few of the reasons why mothers choose baby formula.

Plus, with 60 percent of women in the workforce with only 12 weeks maternity leave, it creates another problem of physical time and space.

If Bloomberg successfully implements this program without backlash, picture the near future as Orwell's Big Brother's all-seeing, satellite eyes looks down upon a typical evening with a middle class family.

Their faces reflect a halo of blue pallor from energy free lighting; the thermostat lockup keeps them swathed in blankets as they try to enjoy their allocated television time.

Mother is frail and shivering nursing the baby while older children are cranky and whiny as they munch on carrot sticks, the only snack allowed. Father has left to take his 65-year-old parents to their mandated death counseling appointment.

Of course, this scene doesn't apply to Bloomberg -- much past 65 -- as he sits comfortably in his warm mansion under soft, twinkling chandeliers sipping French wine and nibbling imported cheese.

Smiling to himself, he is wondering what else he can restrict from his subjects. How easy to herd sheep!

Jo is a staff writer for the Greene County Daily World. She can be reached by email at tojo631@sbcglobal.net .



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