Breastfeeding in Public Is Finally Legal in All 50 States

Utah and Idaho, the last two states to allow women to feed their infants in public, finally folded.

Utah and Idaho—the last two states in the country that lacked clear legislation protecting breastfeeding mothers from obscenity laws—recently passed legislation that puts them on-pace with the rest of the country.

As reported by the Salt Lake City Tribune, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed into law on Monday a bill that makes it “crystal clear” breastfeeding is legal in public in the state. Though, because even devastatingly slow progress doesn’t come without qualifiers, the Salt Lake City Tribune notes that a (male) state representative complained about the wording in the bill, which originally said breast-feeding was allowed “irrespective of whether the woman’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.”

Utah state Rep. Curt Webb said the language “seems to say you don’t have to cover up at all,” adding: “I’m just not comfortable with that, I’m just not. It’s really in your face.”

In light of Webb’s complaints, the bill passed without the “controversial” language that he was “not comfortable with.”

The Idaho legislature passed its bill with less drama from the men. Which is reportedlya big step-up from a previous attempt in the state 15 years ago, in which male legislators raised concerns that public breastfeeding protections would encourage women to “whip it out and do it anywhere.”

As the Idaho Statesman reports, Idaho’s breastfeeding law passed unanimously, though it doesn’t state as clearly as other, similar laws that women explicitly have the right to breastfeed in public. Hmm.

It’s now official: All 50 states, including the District of Columbia, have laws protecting mothers who breastfeed in public. As People notes, this lobs the United States up to the same level as the United Kingdom and Australia, two countries that already had nationwide protections of the sort.


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