45 states that allow public breastfeeding, but not Michigan - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

There are 45 states that allow public breastfeeding and Mich. is not one of them

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LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) - Breastfeeding moms were at the state capitol this week and none too happy about legislation that has been in a house committee for about five months after breezing through the state senate last year.

There are 45 states that allow public breast-feeding and Michigan is not one of them.  This pending bill would change that.

Shannon Polk who runs the Michigan Breast-Feeding Network was wondering out loud if the House Judiciary chair, a man, was deliberately sitting on the bill?

“Women have a right to breast feed in public,” she asserts while adding, “We don’t ask anyone else to eat in a bathroom or eat under a blanket,” so why should moms be told to do just that? she wonders.

There have been reports that nursing mom’s have been asked to leave businesses and Ms. Polk and company think that is wrong.

Frankly, so does Committee chair Rep. Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant) who has placed the bill on hold; not because he opposes it.  On the contrary, “I have interest in it…I want to preserve the ability to  breast feed (but) I want to get it right.”

What’s to get right?

Attorney Cotter wants to avoid writing a bill that will result in unintended legal consequences.  For example, a nursing mom is breast feeding in a restaurant but another patrol complains to the manager.  What to do?  If the manager asks the mother to stop, the restaurant could be sued.  But if the other patron is told to just live with it, that could spawn a legal suit.

“What are the teeth in this bill?” he wants to know and how can you write it to avoid that lose-lose situation for everyone including the business that could end-up in court regardless of what it does?

Ms. Polk was so concerned about all this that she made sure at least two of the women at her lobby day where from Mr. Cotter’s district and they were prepared to tell him they vote.

Message sent.

Message received. “I’m not trying to block the bill,” Mr. Cotter explains but there’s no indication on when and if the legal ramifications will be ironed out.

In the meantime, breast-feeding moms in public around here are on their own.
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