You wouldn't take your sandwich into a restaurant's restroom to have your lunch, would you?
So why should a public restroom be a place for a young mother to feed her baby?
Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation into Michigan law June 24 that aims to prevent discrimination against breast-feeding mothers.
"Breast-feeding is a natural act with many proven benefits," Snyder said at the signing of several related bills. "By supporting new mothers, we help ensure good infant health, reduce infant mortality rates and prevent obesity."
Senate Bill 674, sponsored by state Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, establishes the Breast-feeding Antidiscrimination Act. The act ensures that women have the right to breast-feed in a public place. The bill will help ensure breast-feeding mothers do not face discrimination, and are allowed full and equal enjoyment of a public accommodation or service while breast-feeding.
In addition, House Bills 5591 and 5592 - which were sponsored by state Rep. Amanda Price, R-Park Township - specify that a mother breast-feeding in a public place is not guilty of indecent exposure or obscene conduct.
Price's legislation aligns Michigan with the laws of 27 other states.
Snyder, Warren, Price and the rest of the state Legislature should be applauded.
Mother's milk has been proven to be far and away the best nourishment for infants, and young mothers should not be ashamed to be partaking in the natural act, as long as they do so discreetly and tastefully. We're certain that's the case with the vast majority of breast-feeding mothers, who now have state law on their side to allow them to feed their babies in public without fear of being shunned, told to leave or to use the restroom - or worse yet, arrested.
So, the next time you see a mother discreetly breast-feeding their baby in a public place, leave them alone. Don't stare. Just let them go on about their business and you go on about yours.
- Grand Haven Tribune