Lactivists unite! The snide business owner who just asked you to take your public breastfeeding elsewhere is engaging in a civic crime, according to some very mommy-friendly legislation out of Seattle. The new bill, which will be signed into law, applies to all open areas, including but not limited to libraries, movie theatres, restaurants, doctor’s offices, cafes — you get the idea.
The Washington Post reports that it is already illegal to discriminate against public breastfeeding, but that this new measure specifically prevents business owners and “other entities” from asking mothers to stop nursing, take their feeding elsewhere, or even cover up. And that’s just part of your protected civil rights, ladies:
The council unanimously approved a measure that adds a mother’s right to breastfeed her child to a list of protected civil rights, such as race, color, disability and religion — allowing the city’s office of civil rights to enforce the law and educate the public about the issue.
Councilman Bruce Harrell, who sponsored the bill, told the Post that this initiative was conceived from the benefits of breastfeeding — a practice that he’d like to see more tolerance for:
“The bottom line is, it’s a health issue for our community…It’s very clear the benefits of breastfeeding. What we want to do is move the needle in terms of community acceptance of breastfeeding by having our local civil office of rights enforcing the law.”
Rachel Schwartz, manager of the advocacy group Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington, said that this measure isn’t about necessarily making it doubly, triply illegal to tell a breastfeeding mother that her actions are the equivalent of indecent exposure. This new law will simply make it easier to enforce the overarching legality of protecting breastfeeding moms by addressing businesses.
So happy spring Seattle mothers! Grab the baby and head outside with a nursing tent — or better yet, leave the tent at home.