Breastfeeding in public now legal in all 50 states
The best kind of progress is the kind that feels so glaringly outdated it’s nearly depressing. Which is exactly what the news that the remaining two states in the country to prohibit breast-feeding in public have finally changed their laws is: depressing, but also, cool?
Utah and Idaho—the last two, seemingly random states that lacked clear legislation protecting breast-feeding mothers from obscenity laws—recently passed legislation that puts them on-pace with the rest of the country.
As reported by the Salt Lake City Tribune, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed into law on Monday a bill that makes it “crystal clear” breast-feeding is legal in public in the state. Though, because even devastatingly slow progress doesn’t come without qualifiers, the Salt Lake City Tribune notes that a (male) state representative complained about the wording in the bill, which originally said breast-feeding was allowed “irrespective of whether the woman’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.”
Utah state Rep. Curt Webb said the language “seems to say you don’t have to cover up at all,” adding: “I’m just not comfortable with that, I’m just not. It’s really in your face.”
In light of Webb’s complaints, the bill passed without the “controversial” language that he was “not comfortable with.”
The Idaho legislature passed its bill with less drama from the men. Which is a big step-up from a previous attempt in the state 15 years ago, in which male legislators raised concerns that public breast-feeding protections would encourage women to “whip it out and do it anywhere.”
As the Idaho Statesman reports, Idaho’s breast-feeding law passed unanimously, though it doesn’t state as clearly as other, similar laws that women explicitly have the right to breast-feed in public. Hmm.
It’s now official: All 50 states, including the District of Columbia, has laws protecting mothers who breast-feed in public. As People notes, this lobs the United States up to the same level as the United Kingdom and Australia, two countries that already had nationwide protections of the sort. Congratulations, guys. We really did it!