The (Literal) "Nanny" State

Carol Platt Liebau

7/30/2012 9:45:52 AM - Carol Platt Liebau
Yesterday, I tweeted (@CPLiebau) the following about Mayor Bloomberg's efforts to have New York hospitals hide baby formula to "encourage" more mothers to breastfeed: For Bloomberg, women only get a "choice" when it comes to aborting their babies, not nourishing them.  Actually, it's that he thinks women only "deserve" a choice when it comes to abortion, not breastfeeding (formula is still available,  but it's to be locked up as if it were medicine).

Look, I'm all for breastfeeding when it's possible.  But sometimes it isn't (the baby won't latch properly, the mother isn't physically capable) or alone, it isn't enough (for example, when there is more than one baby).  And fetishizing this one form of feeding is ridiculous; it mostly serves to add extra pressure and guilt to the mothers of newborns.  (And as a doctor once told me, make sure the studies supporting all the benefits of breastfeeding over formula aren't conducted in countries lacking potable water!)

Ultimately, however, t his story really isn't about breastfeeding.  It's about government control over Americans' choices.  Sure, under Bloomberg's plan, you can get your formula, but you're going to have to hear a lecture (about what a bad mother you are!) first.

But if/when laws like ObamaCare become the law of the land, watch out.  Once government gets a declared, vested interest in "containing" health care costs, it's all over.  Under the guise of protecting its "investment" in a healthy citizenry, it can make it very, very onerous -- much worse than enduring a lecture -- to flout "received wisdom" on any health care choice you make, for yourself or your newborn.