House Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) was one of nine House Republicans who voted against the Access to Baby Formula Act, a bill introduced to help alleviate the national baby formula shortage. The bill passed on May 18, 2022 by a vote of 414-9.
Twenty six states have seen a 40-50% decrease in the amount of baby formula stocked in grocery stores after Abbott Laboratories closed a plant that manufactures the formula. Abbott initiated a recall and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered one of their plants to close after four babies who ate formula manufactured at the plant became infected with Cronobacter, a rare but serious infection that can lead to a lethal blood infection and meningitis. So far two infants have died.
About half of the infant formula in the country is purchased by low income people using federal supplemental nutrition benefits through the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, but the program restricts the brands participants can buy. About 89% of all the infant formula people buy using WIC benefits is manufactured by Abbott Labs, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA). The Access to Baby Formula Act would loosen this restriction and allow WIC participants to buy other brands.
Boebert joked about the shortage, then voted against a bill to increase people’s ability to access formula
On May 13, Boebert joked about the shortage of baby formula on “The Dana Show,” a nationally-syndicated talk show. Boebert used the topic to take a dig at transgender Americans by saying “perhaps it’s from all the men who are becoming pregnant and cannot lactate on their own, so maybe that’s where this shortage is coming from.” Boebert then pivoted to blame the shortage on “all the pallets being sent to the southern border for all the illegal aliens breaking our laws to come into our country.” Boebert’s xenophobic comment reflects how Fox News has used the infant formula shortage as a way to demonize immigrants.