• Call us now: 0300 303 0444
  • Call us now: 0300 303 0444
News

You are here

Scotland votes `yes'to breastfeeding bill

27 May, 2008

Scotland votes `yes'to breastfeeding bill

The Scottish Parliament has passed pioneering legislation enshrining the right of mothers to breastfeed.

Midwives magazine: January 2005

 

The Scottish Parliament has passed pioneering legislation enshrining the right of mothers to breastfeed.   Businesses and organisations that deliberately obstruct breast- or bottle-feeding could be fined up to £2500. It is hoped the law, a first in the UK and one of only a few globally, will help tackle Scotland's poor breastfeeding rates.

 

The country has one of the worst rates in Europe, with only 7% of mothers in parts of Glasgow breastfeeding their babies. Campaigners say the outcome of the vote, that led to the bill being passed by 103 votes to 13, is a triumph for the Scottish Parliament and have called on Westminster to do the same, but Scottish Conservatives said the measure was taking the `nanny state' too far.  

 

The legislation was introduced by Elaine Smith, Labour MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston. Ms Smith has a longterm commitment to breastfeeding her constituency has some of the lowest rates in Scotland and she shared widespread public indignation at incidents such as a young mother being made to get off a bus in Edinburgh for breastfeeding.  

 

Ms Smith said: `This is political action to try to affect a change in attitudes in Scotland and we really need to try and take that kind of bold step. Devolution gave us the opportunity to mould a different kind of politics in Scotland. The success of this bill indicates that this parliament, with its critical mass of female members, is capable of operating without the traditional adversarial approach of older parliaments such as Westminster.'

 

The bill also seeks to impose on Scottish ministers a specific duty to support and encourage the breastfeeding of children by their mothers. A breastfeeding strategy for Scotland is being developed by the Scottish Executive, in conjunction with the Scottish Breastfeeding Group.          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Printer-friendly version