ATLANTA — The Georgia Supreme Court Monday sided with a group of certified lactation counselors who sued the secretary of state’s office two years ago.
Writing for the court, Justice Michael Boggs ruled that a trial court erred in dismissing the challenge of a state law as unconstitutional.
The 2018 lawsuit stemmed from legislation the General Assembly enacted in 2016 prohibiting the provision of “lactation care and services” for compensation without a state license. The stated purpose of the Georgia Lactation Consultant Practice Act was “to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public by providing for the licensure and regulation of the activities of persons engaged in lactation care and services.”
In the suit, a nonprofit group of lactation counselors called Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere argued the law made the education and training requirements too stringent, resulting in a reduction of access to lactation care and services, particularly in rural Georgia.
The secretary of state’s office filed a motion to dismiss the suit for failure to state a claim upon which legal relief could be granted. The Fulton County Superior Court granted the motion, finding that ROSE had failed to state a claim because the Georgia Constitution does not recognize a right to work in one’s chosen profession.
But in Monday’s ruling, Boggs agreed with the plaintiffs.
“We have long interpreted the Georgia Constitution as protecting a right to work in one’s chosen profession free from unreasonable government interference,” he wrote.
With Monday’s ruling, the case now goes back to the trial court.