This past Sunday, Washington state law recognized breastfeeding in public as a mother’s civil right. Gaining statewide support, Rep. Tami Green (D-Lakewood) introduced House Bill 1596 last session, which passed unanimously in the House and Senate.
“This new law will eliminate one more obstacle that women are faced with day in and day out,” Green said. Under the former law, women in Washington could not be arrested for indecency while breastfeeding. However, these women were not protected from being asked to leave public places and feed their children in a bathroom or another private establishment.
“I’m proud to say that both women and children statewide will benefit from this legislation,” Green said. “Breastfeeding is one of the healthiest options for children within their first year of life, and we should make it easier for mothers to do what’s best for their babies.”
The bill protects a woman’s right to breastfeed in a place of public resort, accommodation, assemblage, or amusement. This includes places such as shopping malls, restaurants and even hospitals. Women will be able to file a complaint with the state’s human rights commission in response to discriminatory treatment.