by Scout Richters, J.D., Legal & Policy Counsel ACLU of Nebraska
Each August, thousands of Nebraska students return to college campuses across the state. Apart from signifying Back to School, August is also National Breastfeeding Month.
As such, now is the perfect time to elevate the importance of support for breastfeeding moms who also happen to be students at Nebraska colleges and universities. Having previously worked to strengthen workplace protections for pregnant and breastfeeding employees as well as developing legislation to ensure that public middle schools and high schools have policies to support pregnant and parenting students, the ACLU of Nebraska has now turned to a review and report on the lactation policies for students at Nebraska’s colleges and universities.
Given the recent threat to breastfeeding support by the Trump administration, now more than ever, Nebraskans must work together to ensure breastfeeding college students, and all mothers in the state, have every opportunity to thrive. Our investigation found that a number of schools do indeed have lactation policies that provide students with spaces and other accommodations to express breast milk while on campus. Many of these schools have their policies readily accessible via their websites and/or student handbooks. When Nebraska colleges have policies that support students who are breastfeeding, they help to ensure that students are able to simultaneously achieve their educational goals while exercising their rights to breastfeed their children if they so choose.
Let me be clear—breastfeeding is a personal choice for each individual woman to make for herself and her family. We recognize and respect that some women choose not to breastfeed or are unable to breastfeed for a wide variety of reasons. Women who do breastfeed, however, must be supported in school, college campuses, on the job, and in other places of public accommodation because breastfeeding is a civil right, gender equity concern, and reproductive justice issue.