Legislation that would make Michigan the 46th state to allow breastfeeding in public sailed through the state Senate late last year, only to languish in the House of Representatives for about five months.
“Women have a right to breastfeed in public,” she said. “We don’t ask anyone else to eat in a bathroom or eat under a blanket.”
The newspaper said Polk wondered aloud if the outcome would be different if a man weren’t managing the bill.
House Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Kevin Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant, said he supports the bill that make it illegal for restaurants and businesses to show breastfeeding mothers the door, but put enabling legislation on hold because he wants “to get it right.”
Cotter worries there will be unintended legal consequences, such as the a Catch-22 position a restaurant or other business could be put in if a customer complained about a breast-feeding mother. If the woman were asked to stop nursing or leave, the business could be sued. If the business declined to take action, a customer might sue.
“What are the teeth in this bill?” he said.
Specifically, the legislation under consideration would prohibit businesses from asking breastfeeding mothers to leave their establishments, and from publishing notices or posting signs that say breastfeeding is prohibited. It would also allow a woman who was asked to leave because she was breastfeeding to file a civil action against the business and seek damages of $200.
Support for the bill may be the first time Right to Life Michigan and Planned Parenthood have ever agreed on anything. Both organizations support the pending legislation, as do a host of physician organizations who see it as a public health issue, the Detroit Free Press reported last winter.
This raises the question:
Do you support or oppose legislation that would prohibit businesses from asking breastfeeding mothers to leave their businesses or move the activity into a public restroom. Take the poll and tell us what you think in the comments.