***Disclaimer: I do not believe the government should pay for mothers to breastfeed or for parent to stay home with their children. The intent of this post is to fight for tax breaks for all citizens. It is my understanding that tax breaks come from the people, not the government.***
Ever since I had to choose between taking care of Baby T and offering him the necessary nourishment through breastfeeding, I have been on a mission to fight for this right for all mothers. Babies need to nurse for at least a year to get the full benefits. In addition, babies need their mothers touch in order for their brains to develop correctly. Every mother should have the right to make the choice of staying home with her child if she chooses to do so. If you want to fight for economic equality for all families who opt to stay home to breastfeed, homeschool, or any other reasons whether they are personal or not, please send a letter to your congressperson.
Not sure who your representative is, click here. Not sure who your U.S. Senator is, click here. If you need to check who your Governor is, click here.
Because I was forced to decide and leave a ten year career of teaching, I am making it my personal mission to get as many rights for others that were/are in the same situation as me.
Here is a letter I wrote to Governor Bobby Jindal. Please note that I borrowed some parts from http://www.daycaresdontcare.org/ for the first half and added an original component for breastfeeding mothers:
Subject: Unfair Federal Tax Policy/Unfair Practices Towards Mothers
Dear Governor Jindal,
Would you propose legislation to end decades of economic discrimination against Traditional Families?
The following two tax policies unfairly subsidize families that use institutionalized child care vs. those that don't:
• The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) from 1956 favors families using daycare up to a total of $2,100 per year for two or more children.*
• The Dependent Care Assistance Plan (DCAP) from 1981 favors families using day care by allowing them to use Flexible Savings Accounts to shield up to $5,000 per year from taxes.*
Especially in light of all the negative consequences of daycare, tax policies should not create incentives that favor paid child care over parental care of children.
In addition, would you propose legislation to enhance the Federal Family and Medical Act passed by President Obama in 2009?
The current policy states that Sections 6381 through 6387 of title 5, United States Code, as added by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act 1993 (FMLA) (Public Law 103-3, February 5, 1993), provides covered Federal employees with entitlement to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for the following purposes:
• the birth of a son or daughter of the employee and the care of such son or daughter;
• the placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care;
• the care of spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the employee who has a serious health condition; or
• serious health condition of the employee that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her positions.
However, many single or married parents cannot afford the 12 weeks without pay. Instead, the current policy needs to be amended from 12 weeks to 1-3 years. Rather than no pay, the creation of a plan that allows a parent who needs to breastfeed their children to do so without penalty is needed. Such action should come in the form of the tax breaks as stated earlier in the letter, and changing the 12 week unpaid leave to a 1 to 3 year reward program.
Jasmine Fuselier, PhD