Before 2008, a woman who breastfeed her baby in public could be asked to go away. While most women have found that they could breastfeed their baby wherever they may be without harassment, sometimes women are not so well treated. In some cases, businesses deny service to women who are breastfeeding. There are many places where a woman can be (though fortunately virtually never is) charged with indecent exposure for breastfeeding in public. And some women find difficulty with their employers because they want time or space to breastfeed.
Therefore, this Firm began advocating for a change in DC law. We made a proposal to protect a woman's right to breastfeed at any public place where she is entitled to be. Our proposal put in law a clear statement that a woman is not engaged in public indecency if she breastfeeds. Our proposal requires employers to make reasonable efforts to find a sanitary and private space for a woman to breastfeed. And our law allosw women the opportunity (though not the obligation) to defer jury service if they are breastfeeding.
At our urging Councilmember Jim Graham introduced the breastfeeding protection act on Tuesday, March 6, 2007. The bill was aptly titled, "The Child's Right to Nurse Human Rights Amendment Act of 2007." Councilmembers Schwartz, Barry, and Brown all cointroduced the Bill. Councilmembers Cheh, Wells, Gray, Catania, and Evans later cosponsored the Bill. The Bill was passed and is now the law in the District of Columbia, and it is not only among the most powerful breastfeeding protection laws in the nation, but it also has one of the most powerful enforcement mechanisms. None of this would be possible but for the support of the hundreds of folks who called and emailed their councilmembers on this important Bill.
— Testimonial from a DC mom
We are proud of our role in passing this landmark legislation. We invite you to talk with us if you experience any violation of this law.
Please note that this article is a general summary of law and omits many important details, footnotes, and caveats. It is no substitute for legal advice from a lawyer based on your particular circumstances. For more information or to speak with a lawyer, please call us at (301) 656-6905 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.