To absolutely no one's surprise, Georgia moms were pissed off enough at the new law Atlanta suburb, Forest Park, passed last week saying extended breastfeeding is a crime that they staged a nurse-in. With signs like "Nurse a Child, Save a Breast," "Don't Be Lactose Intolerant," and even one woman painting "My Child, My Body, OUR Choice" on her pregnant belly, moms peacefully but loudly protested, and I am just so proud of them. The day Georgia passed this law, I got a Facebook invite to the nurse-in, and while I live across the country, I was there in spirit, ladies!
Outside City Hall, over 200 mothers gathered together, many with their babies, to sit and breastfeed them. The signs they help shared the recorded benefits of full-term nursing, including nursing a child over the age of 2 in public -- the very thing the Forest Park law equated to being on par with strip club nudity.
And it sounds like it might have worked.
Even councilwoman Karen-Brandee Williams spoke out saying how lumping breastfeeding moms in a bill aimed at the adult sex industry made a natural thing look dirty.
City attorney Robert Mack Jr. said the law was not supposed to be aimed at breastfeeding. "Breast-feeding [of babies] ... and performances in live plays, among other things, was carved out as an exception and exemption to the ordinance" was his statement in an email. Are they saying they made this law to prevent sex workers from excusing themselves from indecency laws by claiming they were breastfeeding? If so, why not just revise the breastfeeding law to say that it only includes minors? Much less offensive than sticking an insanely LOW age limit on healthy breastfeeding behaviors.
When nursing moms get upset about regulations or abuses of power, we're often told, "So DO something about it!" and then we do things like this. I'm very proud of the community of women who've decided that their children deserve the best, and they'll fight for it.
City manager John Parker said the city's attorney used the same language when drafting ordination for DeKalb County and City of Griffin public indecency ordinances, and though I personally can't find it in their laws, nurse-ins are now being considered there as well.
He did say, however, that the ordinance was intended to be aimed at other nudity issues. He says council members will revisit the issue at their next meeting. By the way, you can email John Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org or call his office at 404-366-4720. Sounds like he still needs a little ... encouragement ... before their meeting in two weeks.
Like it or not, we can't let stuff like this slide. After all, Tennessee just removed their ridiculous law banning nursing in public in children over the tender age of 1 -- only half of the recommended minimum age moms are encouraged to nurse. If we didn't fight against these things, what next? Illegal to have bottles for 1-year-olds? Pacifiers get you a fine if your child is a certain age? Just like the famous Martin Niemoller quote says, if you don't stand up for other people (even when you're not affected), there won't be anyone to stand up for you when it IS you on the chopping block.
Have you ever been to a nurse-in? What do you think of this protest?