Most states have some form of protection for women who choose to breastfeed their children. California, for example, along with forty-two other states, specifically allows women to breastfeed in any public or private location where they have a right to be. In Michigan, women who are breastfeeding do not have quite the protection accorded them in California but they are, at least, exempt from laws concerning public indecency. A bill currently under consideration in the state house would change that, if passed.
The law would alter the state’s Civil Rights Act in order to protect nursing mothers from discrimination. “It’s sad that it’s even needed,” noted Rebeca Reyna, a 35-year-old mother and lactation counselor. I have to agree with Reyna; breastfeeding is what breasts were originally designed for and to think that the act of feeding an innocent baby is somehow wrong or dirty is, in my opinion, pretty twisted. But, of course, nothing is as simple as that.
Michigan is one of the states that still do not offer full equality to and protection from discrimination for members of the gay and lesbian community and the Civil Rights Act seems better suited to protecting groups of people rather than activities. I am definitely in favor of protecting a woman’s right to breastfeed in public, but given that there is already a modicum of protection on the books and a huge group of people is still denied a basic civil right, I have to wonder if this bill is a good idea.