The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a ruling stating that breast pumps and other breastfeeding supplies are not subject to the tax breaks offered for other medical expenses. However, the IRS will not recognize the cost of breastfeeding supplies to be eligible for these tax breaks, despite the fact that costs for products such as acne medications and denture adhesives are eligible for the exemptions, the New York Times reports. According to the United States Breastfeeding Committee, breastfeeding expenses can cost mothers between $500 and $1,000 annually.
The ruling denies the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) request that the IRS consider costs related to breastfeeding as medical care expenses on the grounds that the IRS believes breastfeeding does not provide sufficient health benefits, the New York Times reports.
Breastfeeding advocates and the AAP have emphasized the preventative health benefits of breastfeeding, backed by recent research. According to a study published in April of this year, breastfeeding will prevent more than 900 infant deaths each year and will save an additional $13 billion in health care costs. The risk of infant death due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), respiratory infections such as pneumonia, and necrotizing enterocolitis is nearly eliminated if mothers breastfeed their infants until at least six months after birth. In addition, the US Department of Health and Human Services reports that breastfed infants have a lower risk of contracting ear infections, stomach viruses, atopic dermatitis, type 1 and 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, and other health problems. Mothers also benefit from a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression (PPD).
Women can ask their doctors for a document stating that breastfeeding is medically necessary if they want to try to use their tax-exempt healthcare account to cover breastfeeding, reports the New York Times.
Media Resources: New York Times 10/26/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/6/10
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .