Every U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center would have a designated lactation space under a bipartisan bill introduced on July 21 by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
“Right now, only half of VA medical centers have a nursing room, so we need to change that,” Sen. Murkowski said. “I’m proud to support female veterans by ensuring our VA facilities have nursing rooms that are accessible for employees, veterans and their partners.”
Sen. Murkowski signed on as the lead original cosponsor of the Lactation Spaces for Veteran Moms Act, S. 4580, which is sponsored by U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV). Both senators are members of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
If enacted, S. 4580 would ensure every VA medical center has a hygienic, private space specifically designated for nursing. Currently, 90 VA medical centers across the country have such designated rooms, but the spaces are only for employees who are nursing, not veterans receiving care at the VA, according to information provided by Sen. Murkowski’s office.
“We can’t continue to allow for only half of VA medical centers to have a designated nursing room open to veterans and their partners,” said Sen. Rosen. “Mothers who are veterans have sacrificed so much for our country, the least we can do is give them privacy when they nurse by passing this bipartisan bill.”
“We should be doing all we can to support mothers and their babies by providing greater access to nursing rooms in public places,” added Sen. Murkowski. “As the number of women veterans rapidly increases, we should make certain that we have adequate support services for them.”
The Senate bill is the companion bill to the same-named H.R. 5738, introduced in October 2021 by U.S. Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Elaine Luria (D-VA). The U.S. House of Representatives on May 18 unanimously approved H.R. 5738, which is now under consideration in the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, which is also reviewing S. 4580.