A new bill will finally protect women who choose breastfeed at the movies, on the bus, and in a restaurant.
Here's good news for breastfeeding women: Washington state reps are sponsoring a bill to ensure that nursing moms have the right to breastfeed in public.
Moms from around the state say they're being discriminated against for breast-feeding and want legislation saying they can legally nurse in public -- specifically theaters, grocery stores, restaurants, even swimming pools.
Rep. Tami Green is sponsoring "HB 1596" which would protect a mother's right to breastfeed in public. The bill has the support of House leadership, and so has no opposition. Green says she wants to make sure "infants in our state ... are getting the very best brain food they can get," and she wants women to be comfortable and safe feeding their babies wherever they go.
Mom Melissa Bonghi doesn't have a problem breastfeeding her baby in public, but others are offended. One time she was nursing at the edge of an outdoor pool and a lifeguard told her: "You can't breast-feed because there's no food allowed in the pool."
Bonghi testified about the day she was asked to leave the pool. She was sitting on the side, with her feet in the kiddy pool, watching her 6-year-old and nursing her baby.
Suddenly she was interrupted and asked to leave, because food was not allowed around the pool and "because her breast milk would contaminate the pool."
Kerri Christie, another new mom, also testified that most mothers don't feel safe breastfeeding in public.
"Unfortunately the general public feels this is inappropriate," she said, "because there is nothing in our law that says it's appropriate to feed one's baby wherever you go."
If the bill passes, Christie hopes people's opinions about breastfeeding in public will change. "Knowing that we aren't on the brink of being thrown out, that we can say we have the right to feed our child, I see that as very important," she said.
Rep. Lynn Kessler says the bill is a great piece of legislation because it encourages women to choose the healthiest and most natural form of feeding for their children.
Her response to the people who think that breast-feeding in public is obscene? "Grow up."
Tell us - would you support a bill that allowed women to breastfeed in public?
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