Just two months after a similar story out of Connecticut made headlines, a woman in Mobile, Alabama named Jeanna Harris is considering legal action after she was forced to stop breastfeeding her child in a courtroom. She says she was nursing her 3-month-old baby while waiting for a proceeding in child support court when a court officer quickly approached her and told her to move to another area of the building. Harris said she protested but eventually got up and moved, left "embarrassed" and in tears. Horrible.
In their defense, court officials claim they were asked by other people in the courtroom to ask Harris to move, and they provided her with a different location to feed. But sorry, that's just not good enough an explanation. Other people's discomfort with breastfeeding is no excuse for blatantly disregarding the law.
Yup, according to Alabama Statute Section 22-1-13, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be present. Therefore, there's absolutely no acceptable reason Harris should've been shuttled out of the courtroom as if she was doing something illegal or inappropriate. Ironically, it appears that these court officials failed to uphold the law!
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How ridiculous and frustrating. And worse yet, how unnerving that this is something that seems to continue to happen! What's it going to take for us to not just be more comfortable as a society with breastfeeding in public but for courts of law to allow nursing moms their rights?
Thank goodness Harris has decided to step up and potentially take legal action. Because while it's unfortunate that it may have to come to a court battle, it's obvious there's a battle to fight to ensure breastfeeding mothers are treated with respect, dignity, and protected under the law.
How do you feel about what happened to Jeanna Harris? What do you think can/should be done to protect women like her?