Advocacy & Policy

Advocacy Buttons: Doulas Deliver, Power of Community and Breast is Best

HealthConnect One develops and supports policies that promote equitable support for moms, babies and families during pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and early parenting.

We draft policy reports including the Perinatal Revolution (2014), and most recently Creating Policy for Equitable Doula Access (2019).  Read the reports in our Resources section.

HealthConnect One’s Every Baby Our Baby Network is a movement of CHWs, doulas and lactation specialists, skilled in peer-to-peer learning, who can speak with the voice of experience on the need for these services in marginalized communities.

Below are public statements we have developed, collaborated on, and/or endorsed in recent years.  Click any topic below for more detail.

HC One has signed onto a letter by The United States Breastfeeding Committee to support and ensure employees have reasonable break time and a private place to pump during the work day. However, nearly one in four women of childbearing age are excluded from coverage and have no clear right to break time and space.

Sign on to the letter today! Deadline Jan. 24th

Read full letter…

HC One has signed onto a letter by The United States Breastfeeding Committee to support the Friendly Airports for Mothers Improvement Act. By leading Congress to protect and support breastfeeding, you demonstrate a commitment to our nation’s
families. Breastfeeding is a proven primary prevention strategy, building a foundation for life-long health and wellness. Breastfeeding parents who choose or need to travel should not have to struggle to find lactation spaces – no matter the size of the airport – risking painful engorgement, their milk supply, and possibly their breastfeeding success.

Read full letter…

HC One has signed onto a letter by The United States Breastfeeding Committee to support of the Small Airports Mothers’ Rooms (SAMR) Act of 2019, recently introduced in the House by Congresswoman Carol Miller. The SAMR Act would require all small hub airports to meet the same lactation space requirements that large and medium hub airports must meet because of the FAM Act. These airports are required to provide a private, non-bathroom space in each terminal for mothers to express breast milk.

Read full letter…

HC One has signed onto a letter by SisterSong to oppose House Bill 481. This bill could take away all access to abortion as early as 6 weeks. We know that many people are unaware that they are pregnant by 6 weeks, especially when the pregnancy is unplanned. With the significant systemic barriers that women – especially Black, Indigenous, Women of Color, and Queer and Transgender individuals face in accessing healthcare services, it is significantly more difficult to get to a clinic to confirm a pregnancy and talk through available options.

Read full letter…

HC One has signed onto a letter by the USBC regarding the Federal budget negotiations for Fiscal Year 2020 are underway and it’s critical that the First Food field calls on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to support funding for breastfeeding. Starting in Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12) and continuing every year since, funding has been allocated to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (FY14-FY19 = $8M/year). Appropriations for breastfeeding have helped build and strengthen critical programs and initiatives to improve maternity care practices, increase access to peer & professional support, ensure continuity of breastfeeding care, increase support for breastfeeding employees, and address disparities in breastfeeding rates. The letter urges that at least $13 million be directed in FY2020 for the CDC Hospital & Continuity of Care Breastfeeding Support program, to facilitate ongoing, critical efforts to build a strong public health infrastructure of breastfeeding support.

Read full letter…

HC One has signed onto a letter by the USBC regarding the Fairness for Breastfeeding Mothers Act (H.R. 866/S. 528). It would require that certain public buildings that have a public restroom provide a lactation room, other than a bathroom, that is hygienic and is available for use by a member of the public. A building may be excluded from the requirement if the building does not contain a lactation room for employees who work in the building and does not have a room that could be repurposed as a lactation space at a reasonable cost; or if new construction would be required and the cost is unfeasible.

The House bill was introduced and swiftly passed, and the Senate bill has been introduced with bipartisan support and referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW). The letter urges EPW leaders to discharge the bill from committee so that it can go to the Senate floor for a vote.

Read full letter…

Welcome Congress 2019

HC One has signed onto a letter by the USBC. They are preparing to welcome Members of the new 116th Congress during our upcoming Welcome Congress Week event, to be held virtually (with in-person options) February 18-22.

Organizations are invited to sign on to the joint letter to welcome Senators and Representatives, educate them about their role in supporting breastfeeding, and highlight the specific policy priorities that they want them to support. The deadline for organizations to sign on to the letter is 2/14. Sign on today!

Read full letter…

Health People 2030

HC One strongly concurs with Ifeyinwa Asiodu PhD, RN, IBCLC comment to “strongly support the inclusion of the MICH-2030-02: Reduce the rate of all infant deaths (within 1 year) objective. Black communities are disproportionately affected by poor maternal and infant health outcomes including higher incidence of prematurity, low birth weight, maternal and infant mortality and lower rates of breastfeeding. Thus, we need to continue monitoring and collecting data on infant mortality with a focus on racial and ethnic disparities”

Read full letter…

Public Charge

HealthConnect One responded to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS, or the Department) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM or proposed rule) to express our strong opposition to the changes to the criteria to determine “public charge,” published in the Federal Register on October 10, 2018.

The proposed rule would cause major harm to immigrants and their families, in particular causing more health inequities and deeper poverty, with profound consequences for families’ well-being and long-term success. The rule ignores the historic pattern of immigrants starting out with low earnings and moving up substantially over time, and also ignores the role that benefits such as SNAP, Medicaid and housing assistance play in allowing people to work and in improving children’s health, development, and earnings when they reach adulthood. DHS provides no justification for why changes are needed. Along with other advocates across the country, we are urging that the rule be withdrawn in its entirety, and that long-standing principles clarified in the 1999 field guidance remain in effect.

Read full letter…

Paid Family Leave

HC One has signed on to a letter by the United States Breastfeeding Committee to assert that guaranteed paid family and medical leave associated with the birth or adoption of a child is a vital component of maternal and child health and should be available for all parents across the United States.

Paid Leave For Military Families

HC One has signed on to a letter to Congress by the United States Breastfeeding Committee to request that their office consider proposing legislative action to clarify and improve our nation’s Military Parental Leave Program (MPLP). They recommend modeling the language after the Military Parental Leave Modernization Act. The bill was designed to simplify and streamline military parental leave by creating 12 weeks of paid family leave for every service member whenever a new child enters the family.

Nursing Moms At Work: Employer Solutions Resource

HC One has signed on to a letter by the United States Breast Feeding Committee regarding the removal of key breastfeeding content from the Office
on Women’s Health website.  immense loss for employers and employees. The goal of the letter is to seek an explanation for the content’s removal and request that it be restored without delay.

Preventing Maternal Deaths Act/Maternal Health Accountability Act

HC One has signed on to a letter urging Congressional leadership to bring H.R. 1318/S. 1112, the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act/Maternal Health Accountability Act, to a vote in the House and Senate before the end of the calendar year. This bipartisan bill would authorize a grant program at CDC for FY19-23 for states to establish or enhance their maternal mortality review committees – the gold standard in maternal mortality surveillance – and move the country forward in addressing the growing maternal mortality crisis.

This urgent letter regarding the Maternal Health Accountability Act is led by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs, March of Dimes, Preeclampsia Foundation, and Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act

HC One supports the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would create a national family and medical leave insurance program to help ensure that people who work can take the time they need to address serious health and caregiving needs.

HC One stands strongly for all families and fights for their health, safety, and well-being.

Concerned by reports that in Spring 2018, the U.S. Delegation to the World Health Assembly (WHA) undermined a global resolution aimed at supporting breastfeeding, threatening trade sanctions against Ecuador before yielding to a proposal put forth by Russia, we joined numerous organizations in signing onto:

  • This letter from the United States Breastfeeding Committee to WHA Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, and Department of Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, and
  • This joint letter to WHA Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar

HealthConnect One supports and stands collectively with communities across our country to continue support for MIECHV and CHIP funding as a racial equity issue.

HealthConnect One signed onto this First Focus letter in December 2017.

HealthConnect One signed onto this letter in October 2017.

“MIECHV supports young children and their families through evidence-based home visiting programs that improve outcomes for children, including children’s health and school readiness. In Illinois, MIECHV serves nearly 1,000 families per year, and also funds innovative approaches as well as training and supports for home visitors. CHIP provides health care coverage to over 9 million children across the nation – nearly 326,000 in Illinois through All Kids. Federal CHIP funds contribute nearly $500 million to the Illinois state budget for children’s health care.”

We believe that in order to begin addressing racial equity in our communities, the allocation of resources in our communities is imperative. Continued funding for CHIP and MIECHV is vital to the well-being of our families and communities.

HC One signed onto First Focus Letter of Support – May 2017

HC One signed onto USBC Letter (above) to endorse WHO Guidance – May 2016 HC One participated in Public Citizen campaign to stop the marketing of artificial baby milk in healthcare facilities – May 2014

HealthConnect One supported the call by Healthy Children’s Center for Breastfeeding to oppose a CMS code that would limit reimbursement to IBCLCs – May 2013