Public Breastfeeding to Become Civil Right

by W.F. Price on April 4, 2012

I don’t have a problem with women nursing in public, restaurants, or wherever they please, but some people might not like it, and why shouldn’t they be able to prevent it in their own places of business? Sometimes, when you have small children, it’s obnoxious when restaurants make it clear that you can’t seat them wherever you please, but if it’s really that offensive why give them your business?

A new law proposed in Seattle would make nursing a civil right, enforceable by the Civil Rights Office:

Under the proposed ordinance, mothers can breast-feed at a time, place and in the manner they choose. They do not have to go to a restroom. They do not have to cover the baby with a blanket or towel. The owner, manager or employee of a store, restaurant or other public place cannot request that the mother move or leave.

Nelson said that individuals who feel their rights have been violated would be able to file a charge with the Civil Rights Office, which would investigate the complaint and could assess a fine.

Nelson said her office also is able to publicize the ordinance and the rights of nursing mothers.

“If a woman is in a restaurant and is told she can’t breast-feed, she can say, ‘Yes I can. It’s the law,’ ” Nelson said.

Given our high unemployment, it doesn’t make sense to place even more restrictions on businesses, and make operation any more difficult or risky. One wrong move by an inexperienced employee and you could find your business sued into oblivion by an offended woman with a smart attorney. It is these kinds of rules and regulations that keep setting the bar higher and depressing hiring, and for a dubious public good. When I say dubious here it isn’t because breastfeeding itself is “dubious,” but rather that the ability to breastfeed literally anywhere probably confers only a tiny benefit, if any. For example, one can pump the milk at home and take it to the store, feeding the kid from a bottle. Or, even better, breastfeed before going to the store.

Sometimes, when you try to legislate a perfect society, what you end up with is one in which only a few people can make the cut, and the rest are simply culled from the ranks of the employable. This is how the nanny state slowly strangles the economy. The more “rights” we confer on customers, the more of a hassle it is for employers, and the more they scrutinize potential employees.

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