Idaho and Utah lately joined the party, meaning that parents in every state can legally breastfeed in public.
Over the years, stories of people who have been asked to leave restaurants or other public places because someone complained about the lane they fed their newborns have made headlines, prompting outcry from proponents and furnishing fodder for debate among the masses.
Prior to governments passing laws, there was little recourse for mothers in such incidents. In reality, breastfeeders could be cited and fined for public indecency if a law enforcement officer responded to a complaint in some situations.
Photo by Ezequiel Becerra/ Getty Images.
These statutes were not passed without contention — in fact, Utah’s virtually didn’t make it past committee.
Utah’s Breastfeeding Protection Act passed the House Business and Labor Committee by the narrowest of margins in February, with a 6-5 vote in favor. Sponsored by Rep. Justin Fawson, the bill states that breastfeeding is legal “in any place of public accommodation.” The original bill also clarified that it didn’t matter whether the breast was encompassed or uncovered.
“I don’t feel like we should ever relegate a mama to a restroom to breastfeed their child, ” Fawson told the local news. “That’s a big reasons for I’m running the bill. I’m seeking to further normalize breastfeeding and allow mommas to feed their newborns as needed.”
Others lawmakers took issue with it, however. Rep. R. Curt Webb, one of the five who voted against the measure, expressed concerns about propriety. “But this seems to say you don’t have to cover up at all, ” he said. “[ I’m] not comfy with that at all, I’m only not. It’s actually in your face.”