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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    New bill would give mothers freedom to breastfeed publicly

    PHOENIX – Lactation stations installed last year in the Student Union Memorial Center may become obsolete if a bill in the Legislature is signed into law.

    Under HB 2376, mothers breastfeeding their children would no longer have to feed their children in specially designated rooms. If passed, the bill would allow women to breastfeed in public, even over the objections of private business owners.

    Under current state indecent-exposure laws, a woman exposing her nipple to breastfeed her child in a public area risks being arrested if anyone present is offended.

    The author of the legislation, Rep. Jonathon Paton, R-Tucson, said the issue was too important to force women into private areas to feed their children, even if it means women breastfeeding in restaurants, shopping malls and public parks.

    “”I think the right of a mother to nurse their children is a more fundamental right that’s as old as the Bible itself,”” Paton said. “”I don’t see any reason why it should be limited.””

    Arguing in favor of the bill, Tempe resident Amy Milliron said women nurse in public to feed their children and not to expose themselves.

    “”Mothers risk prosecution every time they go out in public and nurse their children,”” Milliron said.

    She explained how in certain circumstances, a woman’s nipple might be exposed momentarily.

    “”If a child is nursing, they may momentarily pop off and then pop back on again to take a breath,”” Milliron explained.

    The question of arrest should not be left up to the offended person, she said.

    Journalism sophomore Reyna Padilla said she didn’t think breastfeeding should be considered offensive in any way.

    “”If the baby needs it, then why not? It’s not like (the women) are exposing themselves for a sexual reason,”” Padilla said.

    Jason Ives, a political science senior, said breastfeeding in public wouldn’t bother him as long as the mother was discreet about it.

    “”If she was sitting there just flapping in the breeze, I kind of might think it was a little inappropriate,”” he said.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure last week, but not before defeating a controversial amendment from Sen. Jack Harper, R-Surprise.

    Harper tried unsuccessfully to amend the breastfeeding measure to add a law making it illegal to have sex with an animal.

    Harper said in a later interview that he wanted to tack on the legislation to Paton’s bill because it was one of few bills where the amendment is relevant. To add an amendment to any bill, the amendment must be related in some way to the bill itself.

    He said he wrote the amendment after learning of a recent incident involving a Mesa deputy fire chief who was caught having sex with his neighbor’s sheep. Since there are no bestiality laws in Arizona, the deputy chief was instead charged with disorderly conduct.

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