Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Got Milk?

I'm not talking about McArthur Dairy. Do your nipples express milk? If you're a man the answer is probably 'no.' That didn't stop SCOTUS from 'expressing' this nonsense.
The Supreme Court has declined to overturn a lower court’s ruling that an insurance company was within bounds when it fired a breastfeeding mother. The woman’s suit was dismissed by the Eighth Circuit Court on the grounds that firing a woman for breastfeeding isn’t sexist because men can lactate, too. 
The ACLU’s Galen Sherwin wrote Monday that former Nationwide Insurance Company employee Angela Ames sued her employer when she returned from maternity leave to find that no allowances had been made to enable her to pump breast milk for her baby during the day. 
When Ames asked her supervisor for accommodations that would enable her to express milk and store it for her child, the supervisor reportedly responded that Ames should “go home and be with your babies” instead. That supervisor went on to dictate a letter of resignation to Ames that day, effectively forcing her to resign. 
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Nationwide and the Eighth Circuit Court, denying Ames’ petition for a review of her case’s dismissal. The trial court’s decision — which the Circuit Court upheld — said that for Nationwide’s firing of Ames for taking time to express milk at work could not have been sexist because under certain circumstances, some men can lactate, too.
I'm not an expert on many things but male anatomy is one of them. In all my years of toying, pinching, sucking, biting, twisting, and licking men's nipples I have never witnessed this phenomenon, but apperently it does exist.
Normally, non-pregnant women can have almost double the amount of prolactin circulating in their body than men, according to the National Institutes of Health. This concentration can spike by nearly tenfold during and after pregnancy. 
Research has shown that male prolactin levels can also surge, according to a 2008 review on male lactation published in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 
For instance, scientists documented lactation in male WWII prison camp survivors, who had suffered months of starvation. After receiving adequate nutrition, their hormone-producing glands rebounded far quicker than their livers (which normally metabolize hormones), resulting in hormonal spikes that caused lactation. 
Similarly, a condition called liver cirrhosis can cause lactation by disrupting the organ's normal, hormone-metabolizing function. 
Health issues that affect the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus, which normally inhibits the release of prolactin, can also cause male milk production. 
For example, a 2010 study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal documented lactation in a man with a pituitary tumor.
A ruling that relies on the tortured logic of applying the norms of cancer patients and concentration camp victims is shameful indeed. So is a society that claims to value family and children but then pisses in the face of both like this. Every other developed country in the world has a more generous system of mandated maternity leave. But heck, we're 'merica!

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