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Right now, there are no consistent guidelines for county courthouses in Illinois to provide a private lactation room or area for a nursing parent to pump breast milk. In fact, many courthouses regularly send nursing parents to pump in courthouse bathrooms – which is both unsanitary and demeaning to parents and their children. Pumping in a toilet stall risks contamination of breast milk and could harm young babies’ immature immune systems.

SB 3503 would require courthouses to make a lactation room or area available for pumping and ensures that nursing parents have access to a clean, private space in all Illinois state trial courthouses. The lactation room or area must be equipped with a chair, a table, and an outlet – as most breast pumps require a power source. SB 3503 will not be cost-prohibitive to courtrooms - an unused or partitioned room can become a court’s lactation room as needed.
 
SB 3503 also fills a current gap in Illinois law. Legislation requiring employers to accommodate employees who need to pump breast milk at work do not help nursing parents who spend long hours in courthouses but are not employed by the court. Additionally, the law allowing parents to breastfeed their babies in public does not help nursing parents who need access to a space suitable for pumping breast milk.
 
No parent should be forced to choose between civic engagement and breastfeeding their baby. SB 3503 promotes everyone's right to access the courts. 
 

Status

Passed both chambers

Session

100th General Assembly

Bill number

Position

Support

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