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Friday, February 09, 2007The Badger Herald has a story today about the breastfeeding bill making its way through the Wisconsin legislature. Sponsored by State Sen. Fred Risser, and Rep. Sheldon Wasserman, the bill would not only protect a child's right to nurse in public, but would also level a fine against anyone that attempted to interfere with a nursing mother and child.
This version of the law would set Wisconsin far above most other states in terms of protections for breastfeeding rights. While the greatest majority of states have laws on the books that state a mother and child may nurse in public, the reality is that those laws simply protect a mother from being arrested. Unless there is a statement making it illegal and/or levying a fine for interference, a mom can still be asked to leave and has little recourse against the business that kicked her out.
From the Badger Herald:
Wasserman, co-author of "The Right to Breastfeed Act," said many women in Wisconsin fear harassment when nursing, and added that the bill will include punishment for such behavior.
"We encourage breastfeeding," Wasserman said. "And if anyone bothers people breastfeeding, they can receive a ticket up to $200."
Not everyone in the state supports the bill, however.
Julaine Appling, executive director of the Family Research Institute of Wisconsin, said nursing is important for children, but it should be done with discretion.
"Breastfeeding is very natural. However, I don't think that we need to have legislation that gives special sanction to it," Appling said. "Just because something is normal and natural — it doesn’t mean we have to condone [it]."
First let me say that if you live in Wisconsin, I encourage you to contact your local represenative and let them know that you support this bill and would like to see it passed.
Beyond that, I'm left with this thought:
Am I the only one getting a little sick and tired of this "done with discretion" crap?
There are two issues at play here...
1.) Who gets to define discretion? To me, discretion means that I don't stand on a chair and scream "HEY EVERYBODY! I'M GOING TO BE PULLING MY BREASTS OUT NOW!" before I nurse. To others, it means "covering up" with a blanket or nursing cover. To others, it means pulling the shirt down to cover most of the breast. To others, it means that you shouldn't be able to tell the baby is nursing unless you stick your head up the mom's shirt. To others, it means "don't leave your house you hussy!"
2.) When did people lose the ability to look away? I see a lot of things in public that I don't like. I see teenagers wearing clothes so small that I can tell when the last time they cleaned their belly button lint was. I see women shoving themselves into clothes four sizes too small. I see men that need to invest in belts and suspenders to avoid showing us their own little grand canyon when they bend over. I see people with mullets.
You know what I do? I look the other way. I don't have the right to "not be offended." I have the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." That's it.
Now beyond that, I really, really REALLY want to know where this magic land is where women "whip it out," "flop it out" and "hang it out" for all the world to see while they nurse. Granted, I live in a state with fairly low rates of breastfeeding, but I have never, ever EVER in my life seen even a smidgen of breast while someone was nursing in public. Not once. (Ok, truth be told, I have a hard time seeing moms nurse in public period...)
Every time I read one of these "done with discretion" comments I go back to that early Lactivist post where I wrote about the women that apparently nurse their children while standing on top of the bar with a tassel attached to the other breast shouting "hey everyone!! look at me!! I'm nursing!!!'
I just don't see it folks...