PUBLIC OPINION > Public Breastfeeding Should Be a Civil Right

Living 2012/04/09 13:00:00
In 1999, Congress passed a bill that permitting women to breastfeed on Federal property, and as of 2009, 47 states have laws in place specifically permitting breastfeeding in public. However, despite the government's attitude toward the practice, it has frequently been met with resistance by establishments that are not comfortable with it -- restaurants, airlines, retail outlets. Now a group of Seattle mothers are trying to sponsor a local bill to make public breastfeeding a civil right, placing it in the same category as racial and gender discrimination. We asked the public if that would be a good move.

If Seattle courts are on the same page as the general public, it should be a no-brainer. Most people would like a law in place that makes it impossible for establishments to ask mothers to breastfeed outside or cover up. However, many respondents, even those who voted "Yes," pointed out that it's not difficult to bring a blanket. One commenter wrote, "I understand that it's a natural thing, but women could use some courtesy and put a blanket over said boob."

Conservatives Hesitate

A lot of voters seemed concerned that a woman's right to breastfeed might be compromised if it's not made a civil right, but conservative voters weren't so sure. This is probably because conservatives feel making it a civil right would infringe on an establishment's right to tell a woman to cover up.

Different Without Children

Parents generally voted along with the overall opinion, but among those who didn't have kids, there was a clear division. Respondents who wanted kids eventually were 5% more likely to support public breastfeeding as a civil right, while those who didn't want kids were 11% less likely.

Young People Don't Mind

Believe it or not, the youngest voters were most likely to support making public breastfeeding a civil right -- about 9% more than the overall. It could be that younger people lean left politically, but it's an interesting stat nonetheless.

If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit our poll about public breastfeeding. We'd love to hear from you!
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Top Opinion

  • Mr Wayne 2012/04/09 13:38:40
    Mr Wayne
    Tell them not to "get upset" if someone stares while they do it.
    I know a guy at the VFW is fascinated by it and watches every time he sees it.
    He says the cops have given him a hard time about it.

    If it becomes a "right" to do in public, then standing and watching them should be no more offensive than watching someone excersize their "right" to smoke in public.

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  • Sterling Stephanie 2012/04/09 16:36:54
    If it's a civil right then it should be ok to look at. Don't you get the disconnect there? Why should they be able to inconvenience 50 people in the store by limiting their field of few instead of just being discreet about it?

    If you want to do something publicly you should be ok with people watching.
  • Darlin' Sterling 2012/04/09 17:31:35
    why do u want to watch tho .... look away
  • Mr Wayne Darlin' 2012/04/09 17:55:56
    Mr Wayne
    If it's private enough to be embarrassed about doing in public, do it in private.
  • Grandbr... Mr Wayne 2012/04/09 20:46:45
    Being uncomfortable because some stranger is staring at you while you do ANYthing is a far cry from being inherently embarrassed to do it.
  • Mr Wayne Grandbr... 2012/04/09 20:54:43
    Mr Wayne
    Not really my concern or my problem, is it?
  • Grandbr... Mr Wayne 2012/04/09 21:08:41
    You made an unfounded assumption that you used to justify your erroneous conclusion that women should just "do it in private". That is indeed your concern and problem, because an honest look at the point reveals that the issue here is creepy people staring, NOT breastfeeding women being "embarrassed". Why should nursing women be made to modify their behavior to accomodate the rudeness and/or predatory nature of others?
  • Mr Wayne Grandbr... 2012/04/09 21:56:49
    Mr Wayne
    No. I simply said "don't get upset if people stare".
    You feel like whipping out your breast to shut your little bundle of joy up, that's your business. I don't care.
  • Grandbr... Mr Wayne 2012/04/09 23:16:24
    You said: "If it's private enough to be embarrassed about doing in public, do it in private."

    Again, women who breastfeed in public are generally not "embarrassed" to do so. Therefore, there is no need for them to modify their behavior based on your erroneous assertion that they are.

    And my "breast" would never shut my little bundle of joy up as I'm a man.
  • Mr Wayne Grandbr... 2012/04/10 13:35:44
    Mr Wayne
    Do you have difficulty with reading comprehension? I simply said, "If you do it in public, don't get upset if someone stares."

    I didn't say they would, should, or could be embarrassed. Just that somebody, somewhere; may stare.

    Now let it go, "dude".
  • Grandbr... Mr Wayne 2012/04/10 18:49:54
    "Do you have difficulty with reading comprehension?"

    Not at all. Do you have memory problems? Because I'm quoting your words about embarrassment here. Again: "If it's private enough to be embarrassed about doing in public, do it in private." Those are your words just 7 posts up from here, are they not?

    Well, it seems you've changed your tune. Since you now acknowledge that women breastfeeding in public aren't typically embarrassed about it, then it would logically follow that you don't advocate them doing it in private after all. So we're making progress.
  • Mr Wayne Grandbr... 2012/04/10 19:23:24
    Mr Wayne
    We're done discussing this.
  • Grandbr... Mr Wayne 2012/04/10 22:15:00 (edited)
    You mean YOU'RE done. I consider it an open topic, so feel free to reply if you ever care to.

    EDIT: Ahhhh, blocking. The tactic of the weak and cowardly. Particularly the reply and block. I hope your mommy puts you down for a nap soon, because you seem a little fussy right now...
  • Mr Wayne Grandbr... 2012/04/10 23:56:00
    Mr Wayne
    Nah, I'd rather insure that you're done speaking to me too.
  • GLaDOS Mr Wayne 2012/04/11 18:50:19
    Just a note, I believe you mean "ensure."
  • Mr Wayne GLaDOS 2012/04/11 19:04:11
    Mr Wayne
    Oo, a typo. Considering many of the polls here are written as, "Does u tink I be lookin predy"; I think switching an i for an e really doesn't matter a great deal, especially since you could and did derive my meaning.
  • GLaDOS Mr Wayne 2012/04/11 19:08:59
    "Typo" suggests that it was a finger slip (missed key, a parallel key, incorrect tap order, etc.). That was the incorrect word use; rather like people who confuse "moot/mute," or "two/too/to."

    I simply figure that points are much better made when they're correctly executed. Evidently, my correction earned me a snide response. Either way, you're welcome. ^_^
  • Mr Wayne GLaDOS 2012/04/11 19:14:11
    Mr Wayne
    Thank you ever so much for the unsolicited feedback, criticism, and correction. Whatever would I do without your lightning fast reflexes to catch my smallest error?

    If my comments bother you, don't speak to me.
  • GLaDOS Mr Wayne 2012/04/11 19:17:25
  • Sofahead Grandbr... 2012/04/09 22:23:48
    My Mother and people of My Mother's generation regarded breastfeeding in a public place as peasant and low class, I.E. rude.
  • Grandbr... Sofahead 2012/04/09 23:21:16
    They also wore bathing suits that covered their entire legs. And shortly before your mother's time (presumably), it was considered ridiculous for women to want to vote. We live in far more enlightened times here in 2012...
  • Sofahead Grandbr... 2012/04/29 14:22:19
    "They also wore bathing suits that covered their entire legs." That's not ENLIGHTENED, it's pure fashion.

    "We live in far more enlightened times here in 2012..."
    NOT all of it is true enlightenment, some of it is just people being more selfish.
  • dogfose... Sofahead 2012/04/10 22:16:21 (edited)
    Yes, old folks also didn't like dancing or handholding. And if we go back long enough they owned slaves or didn't think women should vote.

    Should we modify our behaviour based on the ideas of your geriatric idiot family?
  • Sofahead dogfose... 2012/04/11 14:08:10
    A lot people are outright slobbys these days because no one's behaviour is to be subject to rules of decorum of any sort, it violates their "rights", just like the Westboro Baptist Cult by law is allowed to protest militrary funerals and any other funeral of people they think endorsed Gay rights, back in the "geriatic" days they would probably hustled along or if resistant, arrested.

    It's always great to have an "idiot" Austrialian chiming in on US social mores.
  • dogfose... Sofahead 2012/04/27 23:43:11
  • Sofahead dogfose... 2012/04/29 14:32:01
    "I'm neither an idiot..." that might be matter of opinion like you with such elected to opine about my "geriatic idiot family"

    Your profile list you as being in Australia. I made a fault logic leap about your nationality.

    "...since your response to anyone you disagree with is to wrap yourself in insults AND the Flag,..." and I suppose you prior comment which contained "your geriatric idiot family?" is your idea of gracious flattery?

    The Flag? You mean my opinion that the Westboro Baptist Cult shouldn't be allowed to trample on the rights and feelings of grieving family purely because their son was in the military and the Westboro Baptist Cult has an issue with Gays in the militrary?
  • Mog of War Grandbr... 2012/04/10 04:15:09
    Mog of War
    Actually it's fundamentally the same thing. Embarrassment derives from anxiety concerning how others see you.
  • Grandbr... Mog of War 2012/04/10 18:55:28 (edited)
    Don't miss the point for semantics though. The point being that the act of breastfeeding in public is not inherently embarrassing to most women who do it. But ANYthing can become uncomfortable, awkward and/or embarrassing if some creepy stranger is standing there gawking at you while you do it. And ultimately, it's the result of the gawker's behavior, not the gawkee. So if anyone's behavior should be modified, it should be freaks who are unable to be mature about a woman feeding her child.
  • Mog of War Grandbr... 2012/04/11 14:48:14 (edited)
    Mog of War
    Maybe so, but that's not really my point. Bring anything into the public light, and you incur the vulnerabilities of being in public. There will be people with poor impulse control. There will be people of differing backgrounds. There will be people who's view of the world, is that God gave us eyes for a reason and the world and what's in it is meant to be seen. And bringing anything into the public light brings you into the view of all of these people for better or for worse. People have the right to stare at things... so long as they don't follow anyone around.
  • Grandbr... Mog of War 2012/04/11 16:46:15
    Agreed. I just wanted to be clear on the points about embarrassment being asserted by some folks here.
  • Sterling Grandbr... 2012/04/10 04:28:17
    I'm pretty sure staring should be a civil right. See what I did there?
  • Grandbr... Sterling 2012/04/10 18:56:34
    I do. You made an irrelevant analogy.
  • Sterling Grandbr... 2012/04/10 19:55:43
    How are you going to argue that it's irrelevant? Nice one.
  • Grandbr... Sterling 2012/04/10 22:17:26
    Staring is not a necessity for health or survival. Breastfeeding a baby is. They simply are not analogous.
  • Sterling Grandbr... 2012/04/10 23:10:28 (edited)
    OK so now anything that is necessarily to do for health and survival deserves to be in public? Should pooping in public be ok? Just throw a toilet in the middle of the restaurant.

    How about making love? That should be a civil right to. Let's all make-love in the middle of a restaurant or a park. It's natural and necessary for survival.

    The joke is that nobody is telling women they can't breast feed, people are just asking them to be modest about it. Private businesses should be able to dictate what the hell people can or cannot do on their property. This is ridiculous.
  • Grandbr... Sterling 2012/04/11 00:25:24 (edited)
    I only said that your analogy was irrelevant. Although, pooping in public would pose health risks to those around you, so that one's no good either. And sex is not necessary for survival - only procreation, which doesn't present the immediate need that a hungry baby does, so that's out too.

    I'm not even certain that breastfeeding warrants being defined as a legal "right", but there is an undeniable urgency and necessity to it, which warrants special consideration of some sort.
  • Sterling Grandbr... 2012/04/11 00:29:45
    That's the thing, breast-feeding is legal in ALL fifty states. There's no problem, if your baby has an immediate need to feed than what the hell are you doing out in public? You should either be in your house working on getting it to feed or be at a hospital.

    There is no need to make it a civil right.
  • Grandbr... Sterling 2012/04/11 16:50:48
    "There's no problem, if your baby has an immediate need to feed than what the hell are you doing out in public? You should either be in your house working on getting it to feed or be at a hospital."

    What? Ah - I see that you don't have children. Babies need to eat every couple hours for quite a while after they're born. It's unrealistic to expect a mother to be chained to the house or hospital (why should they be in a hospital over a hungry baby by the way?), unable to leave for more than an hour or two at a time for months and months on end. Life goes on and the baby needs to eat regardless, so you do what you have to in order to keep them fed and healthy.
  • Sterling Grandbr... 2012/04/11 17:11:47
    I thought you were implying was that it's a life and death thing. For instance if a baby won't feed, and hasn't fed all day, there's a literal immediate need for feeding, you should be working on it at home or in the hospital. Yes, women need to feed their babies regularly, that doesn't have anything to do with making it a civil right.

    Again, I don't know what that has to do with it being a civil right? Should it be a civil right to bring a baby to the opera and if it's making a disturbance nobody can say anything about it? You're assuming that everyone will be polite and courteous when nobody can say anything to them. My experience has been just the opposite.
  • Grandbr... Sterling 2012/04/11 17:18:49
    I agree that it probably doesn't need to be a civil right.

    And no, I'm not assuming everyone will be polite and courteous. In fact, I'm sad to say that I've come to expect exactly the opposite from most people. I simply WISH they would be...
  • dogfose... Sterling 2012/04/10 22:19:35 (edited)
    I'm pretty sure making people uncomfortable by staring is NOT a civil right, nor shouild it ever be.

    Are you seriously suggesting it should be? I mean, seriously???

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