Sims Presser

SPRINGFIELD—Many mothers across the state struggle to use the court system in Illinois because they lack a place to breastfeed and pump.

State Sen. Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) passed Senate Bill 3503 out of the Senate today. The legislation requires circuit courts to have a lactation room.

“Mothers should not have to worry about where they’ll be able to pump and breastfeed while they’re working or visiting our courthouses. A simple solution is to provide them with space to pump and feed their children so they can return to court,” said Sen. Sims.

The legislation stipulates that the rooms be located outside of restrooms, and they must include a chair, table, electrical outlet and a sink with running water.

One mother from Wilmette has faced obstacles working as a lawyer and not having a lactation room.

“After maternity leave in 2016, I was excited to argue a dispositive motion alone. I asked personnel where I could pump and was told the restroom. Assuming perhaps there was a lounge in the ladies’ room, I checked it out. Not only was it merely a restroom, but there were no plugs for me to use,” said Gail Schnitzer Eisenberg.

This is a problem many mothers who are nursing face. Oftentimes, not having a lactation room forces them into uncomfortable or inconvenient circumstances.

“I asked for an alternative accommodation and was told I could use the cafeteria and just face the wall. After an uncomfortable but successful morning, I ended up driving to my grandmother’s home in Lincolnshire to pump,” said Schnitzer Eisenberg.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy is the chief House sponsor.

“My hope is that we move this bill as soon as possible. No one – especially a nursing parent – should be forced to choose between doing their civic responsibility as a juror and being able to pump breast milk for an infant.  We need to get this proposal enacted into law to protect parents throughout Illinois,” said Rep. Cassidy.

Senate Bill 3503 passed the Senate 54-0 and moves to the House for consideration.

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