When a breastfeeding mom is discriminated against, there are nurse-ins or petitions to end the injustices we face. Sometimes we make enough noise to make a change, but more needs to be done. Texas House of Representative member Jessica Farrar wants change, too. She introduced HB 1706, a bill that would essentially make it a crime if a person harasses a woman breastfeeding in public. It is already law in Texas that a mother has the right to breastfeed her child in any location she is authorized to be. But yet there are still stories in the state of a nursing mom kicked out of a women's gym to spare children and another told to stop breastfeeding at a Houston Target. And sadly, a Texas judge recently ruled that there was no discrimination against a mom who was fired for asking for a place at work to pump.
Something BIG has to happen in Texas for breastfeeding moms to get the respect they deserve and Farrar is working to make that happen.
This is actually the fifth time Farrar is filing this bill -- I love her persistence. I'm hoping that this time it goes through. Moms deserve it. Our children deserve it. It just seems ridiculous that breastfeeding moms need to worry about being harassed at all in this day and age, but it happens. It happens because of some people's warped sense of what is obscene. We do have a hotline we can call thanks to Best for Babes, who documents and supports moms who have be victimized by breastfeeding discrimination. Support is needed. And support by politicians is desperately needed.
If passed, this bill would mean that moms kicked out of an establishment for breastfeeding could sue or attempt to collect damages. I don't think we should think this means everyone is going to be sue-happy -- I see this instead as a major deterrent and eye-opener for businesses to realize that they need to respect and allow breastfeeding mothers. Sometimes fines are the only way to keep some businesses in check. Maybe the staff at these establishments will also be educated properly of the laws, and therefore never harass nursing moms for doing what they are allowed to do.
In addition to supporting moms who breastfeed in public -- whenever baby is hungry -- this bill also helps breastfeeding working moms, which is an action near and dear to me, and desperately needed in this country. HB 1706 would develop a "Mother-Friendly" worksite policy to support moms who need a proper place and time to pump.
I fully support Farrar and HB 1706 and am hoping Texas gets this passed so they can be an example for the rest of the country as well.
What do you think of the bill?
Image via Raphael Goetter/Flickr