Breastfeeding mothers in South Dakota have a little more legal protection to feed their babies in public. After a delay over a procedural maneuver, the state House of Representatives gave final legislative approval that allows women to publicly breastfeed their children in the state.
The legislation reads:
“A mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be present as long as the mother is in compliance with all other state and municipal laws. However, no municipality may outright ban breastfeeding in public places.”
Federal law already allows mothers to breastfed in public. However, the majority of states also have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. Some states additionally exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws and have laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace.
Representative Lynne DiSanto, R-Rapid City, calls the measure, Senate Bill 77, a “freedom and fairness bill.” As the lead House sponsor, she says that hungry babies could need milk every hour and argues that South Dakota could save $3 million annually if all mothers involved in the WIC public assistance program breastfed for the first year rather than purchase formula.
House members voted 61-8 for the legislation on Tuesday.
But not all women consider the measure necessary. For example, Representative Mary Duvall, R-Pierre, who breastfed her two daughters but opposed the legislation, says, “The vast response I’ve gotten is we don’t need a law for this.”
Representative Elizabeth May, R-Kyle, who also breastfed her son, opposes the legislation as a business owner because the law creates another regulatory mandate.
However, the legislation passed. In addition to allow mothers to breastfeed in any public or private location, the law additionally prohibits municipalities from banning breastfeeding in public places.
Breastfeeding freedom act wins Legislature’s final OK: http://www.mitchellrepublic.com/news/state/3681233-breastfeeding-freedom-act-wins-legislatures-final-ok
Breastfeeding mothers to get state’s protection: http://www.mitchellrepublic.com/news/state/3677435-breastfeeding-mothers-get-states-protection
Breastfeeding state laws: http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/breastfeeding-state-laws.aspx
Woman Breastfeeding on Train: https://www.flickr.com/photos/64881109@N07/6029878715/