What’s the difference between a hospital that won’t inform women about formula feeding and a hospital that won’t inform women about contraception?


Lactivists believe women don’t understand the risks of formula feeding or the benefits of breastfeeding. New mothers aren’t making informed choices about infant feeding because they aren’t fully informed. If women only knew of the myriad risks of formula, they’d never choose it.

Lactivists are certain that offering information about formula feeding is tantamount to promoting it. That’s why they have been working assiduously to make sure, through the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, that hospital personnel aren’t merely prohibited from counseling women in favor of formula feeding, they are forbidden from mentioning it. Offering formula to new mothers is beyond the pale and under no circumstances should woman receive any gifts from formula companies that might be interpreted to condone the use of formula, even as a supplement to breastfeeding.

Inevitably there has been a backlash against the BFHI but the opponents claim the high ground with the retort: “We are just trying to support breastfeeding!” Lactivists believe they are providing a valuable service limiting information about formula feeding, limiting support for formula feeding and limiting access to formula.

I have a question for the folks at the BFHI:

What’s the difference between the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative and a Catholic hospital that bans counseling about contraception?

Both insult women by presuming to decide what is the best way for them to use their bodies.
Both interfere with informed consent by withholding information.
Both violate women’s autonomy by mandating how they must use their body parts.
Both interfere with the free speech rights of healthcare providers.
Both appeal to shoddy science, exaggerating risks and inflating benefits.
Both justify their tactics by reference to what is “natural.”
Both insist that the ends (benefits for women’s infants/benefits for women’s immortal souls) justify the means.

So will someone please explain to me why many women who would be appalled by any effort to deprive women of access to contraception think it’s okay to deprive women of access to infant formula?

I don’t see the difference.