VIDEO: Public Health Director Gilan Favors Yamashita’s Breast Feeding Bill, But Education Requirement Should Be Removed

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Guam – There was a lot of testimony in support of the Nana Yan Patgon act or bill 153. It’s a measure introduced by Senator Aline Yamashita to ensure the rights of breastfeeding mothers.

Currently Guam lacks laws that address the potential obstacles women may face when breastfeeding.

The measure would require the Department of Public Health and Social Services implement a community-wide public education program promoting breastfeeding and it’s benefits and it would require that mothers of newborn infants who receive public benefits be given education on breastfeeding.

Public Health Director James Gilan says he is in support of the measure but he recommends that the language be changed because the breastfeeding education requirement cannot be placed on some of their federally funded programs.

“I know in this bill which we do support 100 percent and as far as making space comfortable private space available we will do it. As far as making all of the information that we can make available to women about the positives of breastfeeding we will do that also, but the same government that measures success and performance has programs that tells us we can’t require women in these programs to attend educational programs as a condition of participating in our programs,” said Gilan.

Gillian made it clear he supports the rest of the bill and acknowledged that breastfeeding is the healthiest option for feeding infants.

Among the other provisions in the bill,  it would ensure that women have the right to breastfeed children or express breast milk in public without the fear of social constraints discrimination embarrassment or even prosecution. It wouldalso  ensure that breastfeeding is not considered an act of public indecency and it would require that employers provide reasonable unpaid break time to pump breast milk.