Lactation room removed at Nebraska State Capitol

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — Due to the removal of a lactation room from the Nebraska State Capitol, Senator Machaela Cavanaugh had strong words in the legislature floor on Wednesday.

“It’s devastating, disappointing … pro-life stands my ass,” said Cavanaugh, who represents parts of central Omaha.

The lactation room, which had multiple seats for nursing and pregnant mothers, is now a men’s office.

“It’s a place to cater to working moms and their needs so they can be employees and be the best moms,” Cavanaugh says.

It received backlash from another Senator Megan Hunt, a working mom herself.

“This is what misogyny is. It’s institutional, systemic decision making on the part of people to exclude women, to exclude people who have these experiences,” Hunt said.

The move was made by Senator Dan Hughes, chairman of the board, who said the move had to be made because of ongoing renovations to the building’s HVAC system.

“There are a lot of moving parts in this building, there’s a lot of office space, we have a huge amount of staff that need space to do their jobs,” Hughes said.

A few years ago, 3 News Now showed you what the original room looked like, a single stall in a powder room.

ALSO SEE: Senators fight for a place where mothers can express breast milk

They ended up getting a lactation pod, which Hughes says is still available.

“It’s not like we’ve taken away the only option for mothers who choose to be in the building expressing milk or feeding their children,” Hughes said.

3 News Now Cavanaugh caught up at her home in Omaha. She says the capsule is fine for visitors, but not for the hundreds of female employees at the Nebraska State Capitol.

“It has no access to water except in the public toilet which is the whole reason we needed a space. It’s so you can clean and sanitize your equipment and all that stuff, in a private restroom, not a public restroom,” she said.

Cavanaugh says she wishes the entire legislature knew about it and that employees would double down on offices instead of removing the mother’s room.

Until the problem is resolved more permanently, she has since left her office and works in a public space.

“I’ll do it forever. I don’t care. The most important thing for me is to have a mother’s room,” Cavanaugh said.

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