Good news on the breastfeeding front in Pennsylvania. State senator Connie Williams has introduced legislation that would establish the Right to Breast-feed Act. If enacted as written, Senate Bill 34 would protect the right of a mother to nurse her child in public, prohibit a unit of local government from adopting an ordinance prohibiting breastfeeding in public, and provide that breastfeeding may not be considered a nuisance, indecent exposure, sexual conduct or obscenity.
That legislation is sure to receive a boost from yesterday’s nurse-in at the Berkshire Mall in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. Nearly 200 people turned out to support nursing mother Leigh Bellini after she was harassed by mall security for breastfeeding in the mall’s center court. The nurse-in received excellent news coverage across the nation. You can read articles covering the story from the local paper the Reading Eagle, KNBC in Los Angeles, CA, CBS 3 in Philadelphia, PA and watch video coverage from WFMZ in Allentown, PA. While Pennsylvania state law does not explicitly address breastfeeding, one of the articles mentions that local legislation is currently being introduced in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to protect the right of women to breastfeed in public.
Pennsylvania mothers who want to do more to support breastfeeding can contact the Pennsylvania Breastfeeding Coalition or the very active group Birth Without Boundaries. Birth Without Boundaries has established “a legislative alert e-list — for anyone interested in working together specifically on issues relating to breastfeeding including the legal protection of mothers’ and childrens’ rights to breastfeed wherever and whenever they want to, cases of breastfeeding discrimination in employment, child care and other contexts, and increasing breastfeeding friendly health care practices.” To join the e-list, click here.