Georgia Lactation Consultant Licensing Law on Hold

Georgia Lactation Consultant Licensing Law on Hold

A Georgia law requiring lactation consultants to be licensed by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners is on hold, thanks in part to a lawsuit filed by the Institute for Justice.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the official responsible for enforcing the provision of a 2016 law that was supposed to go into effect July 1, agreed to suspend the implementation while the lawsuit is still pending.

From the Institute for Justice’s description of the case:

Although Mary has helped countless new moms [for 28 years] and taught breastfeeding education to doctors, nurses, and medical students, the state of Georgia recently decided that she and over 800 other qualified lactation consultants must stop working. No other state in the nation licenses lactation consultants in this manner—and only three other states license lactation consultants at all. In 46 states, lactation consultants are not required to get licenses. There is zero evidence that unlicensed lactation care has ever harmed anyone, anywhere.

If the law is enforced, only about 400 lactation consultants will exist in the State of Georgia.

Was the market for lactation consultants a wild west of quacks and snake-oil sales(wo)men? No. In fact, Mary Jackson was already a certified lactation counselor, a certification issued by the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice. Additionally, Jackson is the founder of Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE), a nonprofit providing resources and information promoting breastfeeding by women.

Let the the absurdity and harmfulness of this law sink in: the State of Georgia passed a law preventing certified consultants and nonprofits with a successful track record from providing information and services that are important for early childhood development, despite their being no evidence indicating the need for such a regulation.

The tired assertions about the need for consumer protection are especially ridiculous in this case. Postnatal care is essential for childhood development, and even if the certified practitioners are marginally worse than licensed ones (which, again, there is zero evidence of!), preventing access to care on such a wide scale would more than outweigh exposure to (nonexistent) bad actors. Consumer protection shouldn’t only be about protecting consumers from unscrupulous practitioners.

You can read IJ’s petition here.

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By |2018-07-05T11:12:30-07:00July 5th, 2018|Blog, Occupational Licensing|