Texas Moms Kept From Breastfeeding in Public Could Soon Have the Right to Sue

Categories: Healthcare

baby-look-up-breastfeeding.jpg
womenshealth.gov
Michelle Hickman, a Houston-area mother, became Internet famous in late 2011 when she was harassed by Target employees for publicly breastfeeding her infant. That happened despite Target's breastfeeding-friendly corporate policy and a 18-year-old state law that gives women the right to nurse "in any location in which the mother is authorized to be."

Still, moms whose breastfeeding rights are violated have little recourse unless they, like Hickman, want to organize a highly publicized nationwide nurse-in. The Texas law, though well-intentioned, is toothless. Now, state Rep. Jessica Farrar wants to give it some bite.

On Friday, Farrar filed a bill that would allow mothers booted from a public place for nursing can sue and collect damages from whomever did the booting, be it an individual, business, government or other entity.

Advocates have already won acknowledgment that breastfeeding is the optimal way for newborns to get nutrition and that the practice is something to be promoted. But breastfeeding isn't yet fully a right, not legally anyways.

Take the case of Donnica Venters, a Houston woman who said she was fired for asking to pump breast milk while at work. She and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued, only to lose in federal court last February.

"Lactation is not pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition," Judge Lynn Hughes wrote in her decision. That means there is no cause of action for "lactation discrimination" under federal law.

That looks unlikely to change anytime soon, but Farrar's bill would give women like Venters some recourse at the state level.


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60 comments
lilmama2013
lilmama2013

I have breastfeed all 3 of my babies and plan to do the same with the one on the way!! I cover up every time but I don't go to the bathroom unless it's a family bathroom. I will feed my child whenever they are hungry wherever we are they have the right to eat too. I have also changed my child on a table in a store because they didn't have a changing table in their bathroom but soon after they got one!!

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

This is an idiotic argument.  Our Constitution and form of government are supposed to be in place to protect our individual Rights as human beings.  The constitution is not there to protect you from others exercising their rights.  Just like the First Amendment guarantees you the right to practice any religion, or none at all, it doesn't offer to shield you from those who are practicing a religion you don't agree with (even though through judicial legislation, it's come to mean that, that wasn't the original intent).  Leave people's personal freedoms alone.  If you wan the government to focus on something, encourage them to work on and pass a viable budget.

Joy Daniel
Joy Daniel

Well, there are actually laws in place to protect women and their babies in these situations. The law says that a woman is legally allowed to breast feed anywhere the woman is legally allowed to be. It doesn't stipulate about being covered, etc. I have never understood why people get so offended. My son wouldn't eat under a tarp... and news flash - half the year in our great state of Texas its unbearably hot for such things. If you don't like it, don't look... its that simple!

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

I think it would be considerate, especially in restaurants, to excuse yourself and go to the Ladies' Room to breast feed, just as you would to pee, poop, pick your nose, or fart.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

When breasts are used as original manufactures equipment....The KATE UPTON factor is not in play . 


CraigT42
CraigT42

A little bit of proof reading goes a long way. T say that they didn't resign would imply that they quit. I had to read the posting three times to figure out that you meant they didn't sign a contract extension.

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

Im sure many men will say ejaculation is natural as well...does that men they get to do it where ever they want?

As a women, this "right to breast feed anywhere" is embarassing. I get it, its "natural", but its not a right to do it anywhere. Peeing and pooping are also natural, yet doing it anywhere is not a "right", in fact, its against the law. Act like ladies and not selfish children and you might just get somewhere in life.

John Travis Wilson
John Travis Wilson

Rightfully so—babies need to eat and that's how they eat. The only thing that frustrates me are the women who make a production out of it, calling covers "shame blankets," etc. It isn't shame about feeding your child, it's not wanting weirdos checking out your exposed self when you're trying to feed your kid. Also, motion attracts attention, so if you whip something out and make no effort to be discrete about it, people will look. Granted, that's their problem; but don't expect every other woman to feel so free.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

So... does that mean lactation is just a spontaneous occurrence? That we should all expect at any possible moment? Dear God.  

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@RTGolden1 I'm simply arguing in favor of civility and taste.  Nowhere did I say anything about laws and freedoms.  Hey, you want to fart in an elevator full of people, that's your right.  But is it considerate to do so?

BTW, some idiot below accused me of hating tiny babies because I think it's inappropriate to breastfeed in restaurants.  

angelahunt
angelahunt

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz I take it from your comments here that you aren't a breastfeeding mom.  I don't say that to negate your opinion on the subject -- to each her own -- but you do gain some perspective on this issue when you are actually nursing.  

Very few restrooms, with the exceptions of those at North Park Mall, provide appropriate areas to breastfeed.  Even if the restroom appears clean, there is rarely a place to sit to nurse.  Have you ever actually seen a woman nursing a baby in a restaurant?  Because it's highly unlikely that you are actually going to see anything that may bother you.  Nursing moms are discreet.  

I find it so strange that this is even a discussion.  Good lord, what are people afraid of.

BrandenHelms
BrandenHelms

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz So you would want an innocent baby with an undeveloped immune system to go into a bathroom to eat and ingest all the germs and infections that pervade those places? Why do you hate babies?

kwarren116
kwarren116

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz But the if the baby is breastfeeding, the baby is EATING. At the table, in a restaurant where others are eating. Do you want to eat your lunch or dinner in the ladies room?

CraigT42
CraigT42

What the holy hell. The comment refuses to post on the Ben and skin posting, so I move along to read another post and see my comment there? And I can't delete it?

CraigT42
CraigT42

@whocareswhatithink

Someone always make this pig ignorant, idiotic argument every time breast feeding comes up.

Public urination of defecation is unsanitary, it spreads disease. It has zero relationship to breast feeding. If you want to make a correlation to something that is natural and that everyone does, try eating. Should people be allowed to eat there, if the answer is yes then people should be allowed to breast feed there.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@whocareswhatithink I suppose if we could put an end to the mass ejaculation problem we wouldn't have to deal with the tiddybaby problem.

Daniel
Daniel

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz The first thing Hitler did was legalize public breast feeding. Next, it was squatting and peeing ("squattenpien") and then he took everybody's guns and forced them to have free health care. We're on a slippery slope here, people!

On an unrelated note, I blame all of our nation's problems on Mexican immigrants.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@Anna_Merlan Hence, the Wonderbra. That is what it's for, right?

No wait, pasties. That's what they're for. Like little stoppers. Wouldn't want the girls to squirt the audience.

Daniel
Daniel

@Anna_Merlan 

Not to worry -- there are ways a woman's body can kind of, you know, shut it down. In cases of legitimate lactation, anyway.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  Let's play a little game, Myrna. This is like Sesame Street's "One Of These Things Does Not Belong Here, One Of These Things Is Not The Same" game. Your job is to identify the one thing in this set that doesn't fit the category. Ready? OK!

Pee    Poop    Milk    Boogers    Ear Wax

So, then. That wasn't so hard, was it? If you picked Milk, you win! If you couldn't discern which of these things didn't belong, then it's back to health class with you for some remedial work.

P.S. I don't think anyone thinks you hate babies, but I am rather concerned with your obsession with human waste products and Jimmy Johns delivery guys.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@angelahunt @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz 

I'd go as far as, "If you've ever actually seen a mother nursing their infant in a restaurant, you are spending far too much time paying attention to what other people are doing in the restaurant."

Amaryllis
Amaryllis

@BrandenHelms @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz I would want you to leave the innocent baby at home with a babysitter. This is a major reason why childfree restaurants are popping up all over the place. No one wants to see your messy baby stuff while they are eating.

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

@CraigT42 Ejaculation is not unsanitary......and clearly you have not been a profession at all and seen under some womens breast....many women seem to have a hard time washing in all places they should. That I can assure you, is very unsanitary.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@Montemalone Yeah, if anything I'd say the Wonderbra would just increase the reach of the stream, if you will.

Clearly things we'll all have to take into account. Since lactation CAN STRIKE ANYONE, ANYWHERE, AT ANY TIME.  


TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @TheCredibleHulk 

*chuckle*


Let's call it a fascination, instead.

Daniel
Daniel

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz 

What if a lady is wearing an "I'm With Fuck Face" T-shirt and the arrow points directly to her suckling spawn? Does the T-shirt mitigate or compound the grievous offense her bosom has given?

crimjunkie
crimjunkie

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Breastfeeding "would put [you] off [your] meal" just the same as an "I'm with Fuck Face" t-shirt?  Good God, you're an idiot!!!

crimjunkie
crimjunkie

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz I think he rather got it, Myrna.  You're the one who's dense.

Equating breast feeding with farting?  Who are you, Beavis?

Breast feeding is inconsiderate?  Of what?!!!  Your inability to distinguish between eating a meal and farting?  Changing a diaper and eating?

You want my wife to feed my kid in the bathroom?  Grow up, Myrna.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @TheCredibleHulk 

Maybe you are, but that's not how you regularly describe yourself, here.

Don't make me go hunting for quotes. You and I both know you crow about your liberal bona-fides when folks accuse you of being some sort of conservative troll. 

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@cheeseburger It's civility v. incivility; tasteful behavior v. crudeness.  I, personally, happen to find it as taste-free and rude to breastfeed in a restaurant as it is to wear a "I'm With Fuck Face--->" T-shirt in that restaurant.  Both would put me off my meal.

cheeseburger
cheeseburger

@TheCredibleHulk @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz I don't know how this is even a left-right issue, but I have noticed that liberal women are the most opposed to public breastfeeding.  I don't understand it.  It's like, breasts on TV and Movies in sexual displays are celebrated (only those prudish conservatives would be against this!  Better sex on TV than violence!), but breasts being used for what they are designed for is disgusting and should be kept in a closet.

Daniel
Daniel

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz 

Because, Myrna, if we were to allow diaper-changing at restaurant tables, it would only be a matter of time before men started marrying their dogs.  

cheeseburger
cheeseburger

@TheCredibleHulk @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @kwarren116 The ones who cry the loudest about this are women.  And they usually are the feminist type, so it's probably women who are fighting the shame of not having breastfed their own children.  Gotta keep that career you know.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @kwarren116 

Here's a clue: The rest of the world doesn't care if you eat your boogers.

The question is, why are you so concerned about what that tiny baby across the room is eating and how?

BrandenHelms
BrandenHelms

@whocareswhatithink @CraigT42  

What a stupid comment. Ejaculation is sexual in nature. Are you going to tell me you get your jollies watching a two-month-old suckle a mom's breast?

Daniel
Daniel

@Anna_Merlan  

I consider it my duty as a Christian to dispense medical advice to women -- particularly when their shameful parts are involved. All in a day's work, ma'am!

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