Supermodel Gisele Bundchen has been an advocate for natural birth, but she upset people during World Breastfeeding Week by suggesting there should be “a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months.” She has since “backed down” from these comments, but women in Indonesia face exactly such a law.
The Jakarta Post reports:
Women who refuse to breastfeed their newly-born babies may face jail sentence for denying their children’s right.
Article 128 of the 2009 law on health stipulates that babies have the right to six months of exclusive breast milk unless their mothers could not fulfill their obligation due to medical problems.
Article 200 of the draft says a mother who declines to exclusively breast feed their children will face a maximum of one year in prison term or Rp 100 million in fine.
The law also applies to anyone that interferes with breastfeeding, including employers. US health care reform law also now protects breastfeeding moms, but it obviously does not require all moms to breastfeed.
It is unlikely the Indonesian law will be enforced “due to the absence of implementing government regulations,” but it raises some interesting questions about women’s right to choose to breastfeed. Certainly, there is a better way to support breastfeeding than making it law. Imagine how US prisons would fill up if such a law existed.