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800 Lactation Consultants Could Lose Jobs Under New Georgia Licensing Law

Lactation consultants are the newest victims of burdensome occupational licensing laws in Georgia. Mary Jackson and the Institute for Justice are fighting back.

Over the past two decades, Mary Jackson has helped countless women, especially women of color, to embrace breastfeeding by promoting its benefits and providing them with valuable techniques. The founder of Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE), Jackson is a certified lactation consultant (CLC), one of the two certification options available to those in the business of breastfeeding. She works with women at Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital, and has trained both medical students and doctors around the country on breastfeeding best pactrices.

Yet, under the Georgia Lactation Consultant Practice Act—set to go into law on July 1—Jackson's certification, along with the credentials of over 800 others, will no longer meet state requirements.

Only four states even require a license for professional lactation consulting. Georgia is the only one that will require lactation consultants to have certification from the International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC).

The IBCLC certification is costly and time-consuming, requiring almost two years worth of classes for information that is near useless in application. That's why ROSE is suing the state over its burdensome new occupational licensing requirements, with help from the nonprofit Institute for Justice (IJ).

"Everyday I go to work with a smile on my face because I'm doing something I love—helping moms help their newborns," said Jackson in an interview with IJ. "I don't want to give that up, and I shouldn't have to. I'm passionate about breastfeeding and I do everything I can to make sure moms in minority, rural, and at-risk communities, regardless of their socioeconomic status, have access to quality lactation support from qualified lactation supporters."

"But now, if the courts don't intervene," she continued, "hundreds of my colleagues across the state will be out of a job, unable to continue to help their community, and thousands of moms will be left without the help they need."

Under the new law, there will only be around 400 lactation consultants who meet state requirements to provide their services to new mothers.

ROSE and IJ are now seeking a temporary restraining order to delay the law taking effect. They argue that the new lactation consultant licensing requirements are a violation of the Georgia constitution, which guarantees equal protection and substantive due process. The government cannot license an occupation without there being a "real and substantial" connection between the license and the public good, IJ lawyers note.

Jaime Cavanaugh, the IJ attorney handling this case, put it best when she said: "The state itself concluded in 2013, licensing lactation consultants will only decrease access to breastfeeding support. This law serves no purpose other than to enrich one group of privately certified lactation consultants to the detriment of all others."

The lawsuit was filed on Monday, June 25.

Photo Credit: @institute_for_justice/Instagram

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  • Just Say'n||

    Licensing titties? Now they've gone too far

  • $park¥ The Misanthrope||

    It's sad that people need a consultant for a two step process.

  • ||

    It's sad that people need a consultant for a(n entirely optional) two step process.

    It's not like if women completely forget how to breastfeed any kids are going to die... or even really suffer any ill-effects.

  • Shockerengr||

    It's not as easy as it sounds for some people. There are issues with latching and production that the consultants can help with

  • ||

    It's not as easy as it sounds for some people.

    No. It still sounds the same, it's the people that change.

    There are issues with latching and production that the consultants can help with

    ...Help by getting in the kitchen and heating up a bottle of formula!

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I had issues with latching.

  • SalmonsnaiI||

    This is the same corner case stupidity that brought us 37 genders

  • Citizen X||

    Georgia is rapidly turning into North Florida, isn't it.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    UGA plays a "home game" in Jacksonville every other year.

  • Libertymike||

    The world's biggest outdoor cocktail party.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    It is. A bunch of lefties have moved here and old Democrats that hid as RINOs are coming out of their shells.

    The RINOs spend like drunken sailors.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Georgia must be a socialist state according to LoveCons - regulations and all.

    He said so.

  • Libertymike||

    Come on, PB, you know that he is for mammary freedom.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Georgia is becoming a socialist state.

    All the socialists moving here and the racist Democrats that lefties said switched to be Republicans in 1965 are tipping the scales toward socialism. Funny how those RINOs always voted Democrat, spend like Democrats, and are racist like Democrats.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Trump's a racist Big Gov Democrat just like George Wallace!

    I knew you were good for something. You nailed the Trump Party of today.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The racist RINOs I mentioned voted for Democrats like Hillary.

    They register as Republicans to win elections but vote in our state legislature like Democrats, hence the term RINOs.

    Then you have racist Democrats who are registered as Democrats and lose most elections.

    I know getting to know your hidden lefty friends is tasking to that 1 brain cell you have.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    OT - The World Cup is officially racist. All five African teams were eliminated in group stage.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    SENEGAL, NO!

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Senegal was eliminated based on disciplinary actions. The top three teams in the group all had the same number of points and goal differentials, so it came down to yellow cards.

  • Libertymike||

    They feared being beaten senseless by gangs of Russian hooligans.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Democrats rejoice!

  • Longtobefree||

    Wait. What?
    I thought women had choice when it came to their bodies.
    Follow the money.

  • Citizen X||

    "My body, my choice" refers only to abortions. Nothing else. It is known.

  • Longtobefree||

    Oh, yeah. Right. Because it is not the woman's body that dies. I forgot.

  • Aloysious||

    I used to milk cows. Does that make me a 'Lactation Consultant'?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    How dare you? Likening women's breasts to cow teats.


    The bitches won't like that.

  • ||

  • AustinRoth||

    Lactation consultant? The very essence of a First World need. But still shouldn't need licensing.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Is it though? Weren't there wet nurses who breastfed other peoples children through out history?

    Feed a baby one day and they'll be hunger the next. Teach them to suckle and they will be set for life; to butcher some guys quote.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Is it though? Weren't there wet nurses who breastfed other peoples children through out history?

    Feed a baby one day and they'll be hunger the next. Teach them to suckle and they will be set for life; to butcher some guys quote.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Is it though? Weren't there wet nurses who breastfed other peoples children through out history?

    Feed a baby one day and they'll be hunger the next. Teach them to suckle and they will be set for life; to butcher some guys quote.

  • Hugh Akston||

    She works with women at Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital, and has trained both medical students and doctors around the country on breastfeeding best practices.

    More like 'breast practices.' Come on intern, get your head in the game.

  • cynicalretiree||

    When I worked in neonatal intensive care nursing, a lactation nurse would give classes 3 days a week to new mothers.
    Did Georgia ask RN's or Nurse Practitioners for advice before pilling the plug on these professionals?

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