Multicolor Milk Minute Logo.PNG

our latest episode:

Bonus Episode – Current Events June 2022

Share this episode with a friend šŸ‘‡

Listen to this episodeĀ here orĀ subscribe & listen on Apple Podcasts


This is Maureen Farrell and Heather ONeal and this is the Milk Minute. We’re midwives and lactation professionals bringing you the most up to date evidence for all things lactation. So you can feel more confident about feeding your baby, body positivity, relationships, and mental health. Plus we laugh a little or a lot along the way.

So join us for another episode. Welcome to a little bonus episode of the Milk Minute Podcast. We don’t do many of these, but we feel it’s very important to let you guys know what’s happening in the world around you. I know that you’re busy trying to just feed your baby.

It’s not really a time in your life when you’re postpartum to take on the rest of the world. And often you feel like you’re living in a little bubble, but it’s not that you don’t care. It’s just that you’re in survival mode and we get it. But we really do want you to know what’s happening around you because it does affect you.

It’s very important. And we wanna also give you some things you can do about it that’s very easy and we will link some of those things in the show notes. Yeah. Usually bonus episodes are fun. This one is not. I, I definitely also end up in that bubble sometimes.

So the other week I, my dog died and I didn’t find out till like 12 hours later that Roe V. Wade was overturned because I was just like, with my family being sad about my dog and in my house. And then I like logged into Facebook and was like, what, what, what just happened? What is happening? And then a whole bunch of other things like that just kept cascading.

So let’s, let’s talk about them. Yeah. And you know, I, I found out because people just kept messaging me. Did you hear about this? And oh, what are you gonna do about it? Yeah. You know, what are you gonna say? Are you gonna make a statement? So, you know, I am not the person that makes just a statement and leaves it.

No, I’m like, okay, this has to be well thought out. We have to give people something to do with it. I do not enjoy as a person being filled with rage and having nowhere to put it. Yeah. And it’s hard right now, cuz we are in limbo in a lot of places, right. Federally, the constitutional right to basically to privacy around having an abortion has been eliminated.

However that now means we have to wait for all of the states to figure out what they’re gonna do about it. It leaves it up to a state’s decision. In West Virginia, we are in a shitty position because the only other real law we have on the books about abortion is from 1882. And it makes it a felony to basically give someone an abortion.

And that’s it. It’s like one paragraph. I read it this morning and I was like, that’s it? Oh my gosh. So there’s gonna be a lot. So if that is the default law, which right now, when we’re recording, we’re waiting on our attorney general to make a statement. Which he said like four days ago, he would, and we’re still waiting.

Maybe he’ll have made it by the time we air this, but probably not. Thanks Patrick Morrisey. Anyway, but then it’s gonna, there’s gonna be a lot of prosecutorial discretion, right? Because prosecutors get to decide who they prosecute. So we’re gonna have all these laws and all these prosecutors just like deciding who they’re gonna prosecute for abortion.

I did see a meme that I found pretty funny because it, it just, you know, it said something along the lines of are all police departments gonna have an OB GYN unit now? It’s like, oh my God, perp found, Heather ONeal, 34 years old, assisting someone with a medical abortion. Right. and, and like, that’s the crazy thing is the people who have written these laws, especially our antique law are certainly not medical professionals.

And yet they’re the ones who are gonna be deciding like what? And I, it just drives me crazy. I was thinking about this the other day, especially the states that are like, well, we’ll allow it if the life of the mother is at stake. Who decides that? What if I’m 30% likely to die? Is my life at stake?

What if I’m 60% likely to die? Do I get an abortion then? Right. Well, if you wanna go with the relative risk relative to someone who’s not pregnant, I am 300% more likely to die. Right. Because I just have so many more risk factors. So like, and the risk is never gonna be zero, right? The risk is never zero, right?

Because even if you have the perfect pregnancy, guess what? Your risk of being murdered is extremely high when you’re pregnant. Like shit is wild. Yeah. Domestic violence goes way up. Job loss. You’re just in a much more vulnerable position. And I just, I don’t know if it it’s a hard thing. I, I feel like a lot of us have been going through these cycles of staring at the wall feeling despondent and then frantically Googling, like how do people get abortions?

Where can they still get abortions? How do I help them? And then like going through like spirals of despair about like, what is going to happen and then like staring at the wall again. And then, you know, just like going through that every day.

Well, for me, it feels like I’ve been watching a plane crash in slow motion from the ground. Where you’re like, there’s nothing I can do about it. Yeah. I’m, I’m watching this happen over a long period of time and I’m pretty sure it’s gonna hit the ground. I’m pretty sure. I’m pretty sure it’s gonna hit the ground, it’s like an inch way, you know. You just can’t tell. You’re like calling people.

You’re like, are you seeing this plane? Yeah. Like, is anyone gonna stop this plane? Like, I feel like there’s time, you know, it’s moving really slow. And now it’s just like beyond the point of salvation and I, well, we have some interesting things that are beginning to happen now. So for a long time, the UCLA has been you know, like fighting abortion bans in states.

And now essentially what they’re going to do is look at state constitutions and try to defend people’s right to an abortion through those. There’s an interesting lawsuit going on right now from a Jewish congregation against the state of Florida for their abortion bans, because abortion as essentially a right, is built into the Jewish belief system that if the mother’s life is in danger, for any reason, even if like her health in general is in danger from the pregnancy, she should get an abortion. Not should. Right. You have to. It is your, it is your duty. Yeah. To save her. . And so they’re using like the religious freedom angle, which is really interesting.

And I think we’re gonna see more of that, frankly. I, I think we’re just gonna see people really doing their best to find any reason to preserve this right for people. Because even in places where the law is gray, now we have effective abortion bans because clinics are not working because they don’t know where they stand legally.

You know, and I think also we’ve just, this is adding to the distrust of the entire system in general, because, you know, we all watched Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett in their interviews for the Supreme Court say, you know, we, we have no intention of overturning laws that are already in place.

Like the Roe V Wade has already been decided, like that’s not something that’s our priority. And it’s like, oh, well, okay, well, I guess now, and then what’s his face. The other one is like, oh, now we might need to revisit. Now we have to revisit everything that’s been decided on the 14th amendment, including the right to marriage equality.

I mean, it’s just, Ugh. Yeah, my husband said, well, I guess that would mean that, you know, if you wanna be married, like to a same sex person, you’d have to live in a state where you could do that. And I was like, yeah, but yeah, but it could even go more like county to county. Well, and, and now, like people are discussing extradition.

If you leave your state to essentially break your state law, they you know, there’s talk of, extraditing the people who helped you with that. So your doctors or say they overturned same sex marriage equality. They could prosecute the person who married you. Right? Like it it’s wild. The implications.

Once you really start to go down that road of like the prosecutorial discretion. Yeah. And honestly, even Boris Johnson, who’s like the Donald Trump of the UK was like, I really think this is a step backwards for you guys. Yeah. Like this is why we have laws here protecting people’s right to an abortion.

And it’s like, dude, even Boris is like ashamed of us. This is just bananas. It’s embarrassing. It is very embarrassing. Anyway, we’re gonna put some links in our notes of like places you can visit for more information. I did wanna throw out there, there are abortion funds are still working. Many states are working to expand and protect access to abortions.

States like Maryland and New York and California. And then there are funds and services that help people find housing if they need to travel. There’s even a group of volunteer pilots who is flying people around the country and they actually preexisted this issue they’re called elevated access.

And I think they began to help people find gender affirming care that was illegal in their states. And so now they’re like, okay. So I guess we’re also providing travel for people seeking abortions. It it’s yeah. So there’s a lot of resources. Everybody in those organizations is working double time.

We’re gonna put some links in the notes for you guys, and I strongly encourage you to donate to abortion funds that provide that access to people. Well, that’s not all, unfortunately, we have a couple other updates that definitely affect us as well. Yeah. So the Pump Act that passed the house previously, and we were all excited for, cause we were like, it’s gonna give at least like 8 million, 9 million, 9 million lactating employees like expanded rights for medical accommodations at work.

And we were super excited because so many people get left out of the existing laws for that. And now it didn’t pass the Senate. Well, it had been sitting in the Senate for more than a year. Yeah. First of all. And it had, because of the nature of that law, it would’ve had to pass unanimously and it failed to pass unanimous consent because of one person. Because of Republican Senator, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, come on.

Cynthia objected to the bill and her argument was that it would be particularly burdensome for companies in the transportation industry, specifically like the railroad industry, to create separate accommodations for breastfeeding parents for lactation and it could further hurt the supply chain.

However, the company that she cited, she never even checked with allegedly. Really? Yeah. I know. Are they like, don’t look at us? This company never filed a complaint about this. It’s just like, where, where are you getting this? Like why? And like, you couldn’t have talked about this a year ago, right? When it’s been sitting in the docket.

So now like the formula shortage and everything, it’s like, oh great. We can’t help these extra 9 million American lactating parents pump at work to provide food for their babies and we don’t have formula, which leads me to the next, on top of it. Sad thing. Yeah. Something else terrible happened. So there’s another bill Republican Senator Mike Lee’s Formula Act also failed to pass via unanimous consent.

And that bill would’ve waived tariffs, regulations and quotas on imported formula. And also soften the formula rules around WIC. So each state has their own contract with a particular formula company yeah and for their WIC program. And so if you live in West Virginia and say, I’m not sure, I think it’s Similac, that’s Similac.

You know, if your WIC program covers Similac, but there’s no Similac on the shelves due to the formula shortage, you know, you’re screwed. You’re shit outta luck because you know, you don’t have WIC coverage for the Similac and there’s only Enfamil or whatever the heck it is. So, you know, that failed as well.

So it’s like, oh my gosh, what in the world? And now people are like, oh, but the formula shortage is gonna be over soon because the Abbott factory that was closed down due to the bacteria scare just had a flood. So they had this massive flood in the factory that sustained lots of damage and they’re gonna be closed for a few more weeks, at least. At least.

I mean, because then once you fix all the damage, you then have to go back through and do all the environmental safety checks again. And like how long does that take? And, you know, it’s just kind like, you know, there’s also an epidural shortage in case you didn’t know that. I did hear about that.

There has been one for a while now and you know, they did loosen the regulations on like imports for those meds. Was it something to do with like that specific needle, right? No. It’s the actual medication it’s medication. Well, it’s also the tubing. Right? Okay. And so there’s like a lot of weird little tubing, stuff like that, but the actual medication we used to not be allowed to get that from anywhere else.

And now we can, we’re getting it from Italy mostly. Cool. So there’s even some hospitals that, and I can’t confirm this, but I have heard through other people that some hospitals are sending letters to their pregnant patients and saying like, Hey, you might wanna consider some other pain management options, because we can’t guarantee an epidural.

Oh man. It’s almost like all those hospitals should have started doula programs 10 years ago to help people manage natural labor? Yeah. It’s like here, you can bite on this government issued stick. This is the new plan of how we’re gonna help women. So you know how you need to like dig down deep and like really get to know your body so you can get through this?

Yeah. We need you to really know your body, but actually we don’t trust you to know your body well enough to access an abortion. Yeah it’s just, I just, none of it is making sense. None of it is making sense, but it does feel like a giant patriarchal thumb is smooshing us. Yeah, no, it really does. It feels like everywhere I turn right now, there is one more barrier to people just living their fucking lives.

Like you know, mothers returning to work to people, you know, having lives outside of children. I mean, it just like, okay, great. So we can’t access abortion now. So more people are going to have babies that they didn’t plan to. And then those people, aren’t probably, you know, if, especially if they’re lower income and you know, they’re working jobs that are exempt from federal, you know pumping regulations, great.

They’re not going to be breastfeeding then when they return to work like two weeks later, cuz they don’t have paid leave. If they return to work. Right. And yeah so what? Are they gonna return to work? Maybe not. Maybe they’re gonna stay home. How many more people then, how many more people are we taking out of society basically, and just shove them back into the home?

Yeah. But then honestly, can you go home because of inflation right now? Like my husband and I, it’s a terrible position. Make decent money. Yeah. Like decent. We are not well off by any means, but we make decent money and we have conversations weekly now about where we can cut back and you know how we can plan.

And it’s like, I don’t understand how people are even affording groceries. I don’t know. Like, this is usually the season where we don’t worry about money because we have like extra jobs in the summer. And we’re just as tight as we’ve been all winter. It’s scary. Yeah.

But you know, there is another bill sitting right now in the Senate. The Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act. So oh, I just feel like if that’s about women, that’s about anybody who can get pregnant, it’s not gonna pass. Well allegedly it has some strong bipartisan support on, you know, so we’re hoping. Okay. Sure. So does it need to pass unanimously?

I believe it does, but I’m not. Just what the hell is that bullshit? I don’t know. I don’t understand. But basically what this would do, the Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act would close loopholes, clarify language and strengthen protections which were first outlined in the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

So this would basically mean that workers would no longer have to be the ones to prove that they need accommodations by showing their employer that they had provided an accommodation for someone else who was similarly situated. So if you and I are working at the same place, it’d be like, well, Maureen got this. Right.

And just so you know, I qualify for the same thing. So you have to give it to me. So it kind of like, you know, that makes it very difficult for people to, to bring their cases forward. Right. Especially if you’re like a black woman working with a bunch of white men, you know? Yeah. It just like, you have to have a lot of hoot spa of really like, Hey, this is what I need and I demand it and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

And you know, by the way, as it stands right now, about two thirds of pregnant workers have lost their pregnancy accommodation cases since 2015. So, and that’s according to A Better Balance, which is an organization that is working towards pushing this Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act through.

So, I mean, I talk to clients about this all the time, you know, We’re like what’s going on that is causing all of these symptoms for you. Oh, it’s your workplace. Let’s talk to your boss. Oh, they’re not giving you the accommodations. Okay. I’ll write six more letters, you know, and here we’re gonna get this letter from a lawyer at the Center From Work Life Law.

And it’s just like, It’s ridiculous. It is ridiculous. So unfortunately this isn’t one of those bonus episodes where we’re like, it’s okay. We’re full of hope. Like we’re actually concerned. It’s not really okay. It’s not okay. We, you know, are a bit overwhelmed to be honest with you. As midwives, I’m feeling a little bit. I’ve just spent the last week, like crying on and off.

And it’s mostly about my dog who I’m really sad about. But then like, I, and then like, I’m like try, try to get out of that. And then everywhere I look, there’s just doom in this country and it’s terrible. And, and then like, you know, yesterday I pop on Instagram and it’s like, oh, the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia canceled everybody’s abortion appointments because they don’t think they can legally provide them anymore.

And that was our only provider. Like, and it’s hard. It’s really hard to maintain any sort of motivation to do something, especially, you know, when we’re, we’re dealing with the big dogs here. You know, the Supreme Court and the Constitution. It’s not like, you know, it’s not like some little local, you know, legislation that we’re trying to manage to help people.

No, this is, this is as big as it gets and it doesn’t feel possible on an individual level to do anything about it. What you can do is certainly spread resources that already exist and tell people about those. I just want to say a quick word of what you should not do. Please do not advertise on social media that people can come stay at your house if you live in a state that protects the right to abortion.

Here’s why, and I know, like on the face of it, that seems really nice where you’re like, oh, if you need to quote, go camping quote in California, my couch is open and I’ll feed you and whatever. First of all, there are already resources that exist to help people with that that are safe.

Your friends already know they can stay on your couch if they need to come to your state to have an abortion. You don’t have to say that online. The people that for whom that’s new information are, then people you don’t know. And that’s not safe to have somebody you don’t know in your house because just some, a stranger telling you they want an abortion is like, not doesn’t mean they’re a safe person.

And on the flip side, a stranger telling you that they will house you if you want an abortion does not make them a safe person. So let’s not do that. Instead, let’s try to spread resources of safe places that provide that. Right. And if you wanna start tackling The Pump Act, The Formula Act, the, you know, pregnant, The Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act, you can actually contact A Better Balances hotline and they will actually answer any questions about your, your rights at work and offer you protections that they could tap into if you decide to breastfeed while the formula shortage continues. So that’s just another organization that’s there to help you.

And I mean, we’re not even talking about like, big life changing things. It’s like, if you need a stool at work while you’re pregnant. Yeah. And that’s the difference between you having a job and not they’re gonna help you get a stool. Oh, I mean, for some of the people I’ve worked with, it’s literally having permission to sit down.

Yeah. Or having a bottle of water next to you. I was working with a nurse anesthesiologist who worked at a hospital in labor and delivery sometimes, right, she was like a floater between units. They still had her doing cardiac surgeries at 34 weeks and were not allowing her bathroom breaks or water breaks.

Like, like what? I’m, I’m sorry. Like what? Oh my God, it’s wild. So like, we are talking about very basic things here. You can ask for a stool, you can ask for a chair, you do not have to stand to run a cash register at a grocery store, even though most of them require you to, right. You can have water; you can have bathroom breaks and there are lawyers who can help you get that.

And you should not feel less than because you need those things. Period. No, no, you should feel human because you need those. Like all, all humans need them. It’s inhumane that we have people work without those in general. But like, especially, so when you’re pregnant.

Anyway, it’s we are going to end this bonus episode with some doom and despair, cuz I feel sad and I might cry again. And anyway, I we’re just, we’re gonna leave you some resources if you have time to spread information, please do so.

If you have money to donate, please do so. And keep your eyes and ears open for more ways that you can help. Yeah. And let’s not take for granted the many years that we did have access to at least some of these resources and try really hard, not to think about the fact that we might have to have honest conversations with our children pretty soon, who were coming up into the middle school, high school years about repercussions of their normal sexual growth as a human being.

That’s something that I’m really wondering if I’m going to have to talk with my son about who’s about to be nine, you know, and just like a few short years. Yeah. And nine year olds occasionally get pregnant. Yeah, it’s wild. It is wild.

So it’s like, okay, well, you know, like let’s prepare and yeah. You know, so you’re talking about people our age are like really rushing the conversation of are, are we done having kids? Yeah. Because if we are, I’m getting a tubal right now. Yeah. I am incredibly thankful that we already have a vasectomy in my household, but also terrified.

Like what if that doesn’t work? Right. Because I’m not having a third child. My husband was like, well, I’ll just keep pulling out. Hashtag pull out 2022. Like, oh no. Oh my God. Yeah. So we’re gonna probably be putting some barriers in place there. So we’re all in the same boat. We’re with you.

Yeah, we we’re here for you. If you need to email us and tell us your story and that would be cathartic for you, you can email us at and if you would like to continue supporting our project, you can join us on Patreon at Yes. And all of your donations go directly towards supporting the show.

We do not take pay out of that. Nope. Our time is free. Our knowledge is free for you. Our audio engineer is not free. So, if you would like to help support the show, that is the best way to do it. You can make a one-time donation if you like. And we are thinking about you all and we love you and we’ll keep you updated.

Okay. Until next time.


Get behind the scenes access and exclusive perks when you support us on Patreon!