Security guards in a Washington, DC DMV picked the wrong mother to mess with this week. When Simone dos Santos was breastfeeding her 4-month-old in a hallway, two female security guards asked her to stop because it was indecent. What they didn’t know was dos Santos is an attorney, and she wasn’t about to take their “indecent exposure” claim at face value.
“I called my law firm to ask for pro bono assistance and an associate who could immediately research whether there was a law regarding breastfeeding in public,” dos Santos wrote in a blog for the Washington Post. “I wanted to get the name of all of the guards involved, and finally got a name and number of a supervisor before I was called into the room for the hearing on the parking ticket.”
dos Santos added that she’s since learned that the guards were wrong and had no right to stop her from breastfeeding her son. Citing the “Child’s Right to Nurse Human Rights Amendment Act of 2007, she said the law allows women to breastfeed in any location she has a right to be with her child—-public or private.
Stories like these aren’t uncommon. Last year, ABC did a little undercover experiment to gauge people’s reaction to mothers breastfeeding in public. Most people didn’t approve, but approval and rights are two separate things.
Are you bothered by women breastfeeding in public? Have you ever been asked or asked someone else to stop breastfeeding when you were out?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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