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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
    +18
    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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Opinions

  • Sterling dogfose... 2012/04/11 00:28:38
    Sterling
    I'm saying that we don't need to make absurd things civil rights. Nobody is telling people they can't feed their babies, there's just a time and place for it.
  • Sofahead Darlin' 2012/04/09 22:21:25
    Sofahead
    Hey, if feel the need and right to do it anyplace you wish, you're going to have to accept being gawked at.
  • Sophie ... Stephanie 2012/04/09 16:42:58
    Sophie Ruffian
    +4
    Ok now we are going to be arresting men women when the breast feeding mom decides someone is staring I can just see our police dealing with this now .
  • patchulie Sophie ... 2012/04/09 19:18:13
    patchulie
    The police don't have ANYTHING better to do? Come on
  • Mr.Hood... Stephanie 2012/04/09 17:20:38
    Mr.Hoodz the Truth Troll
    +3
    Don't do it in public then.
  • Darlin' Mr.Hood... 2012/04/09 17:32:54
    Darlin'
    +3
    gotta feed the babes when they are hungry ....
  • Mr.Hood... Darlin' 2012/04/09 17:53:38
    Mr.Hoodz the Truth Troll
    +4
    They should pump enough milk to take with them in a bottle then if they don't want perverts gawking at their breast.
  • Grammar... Mr.Hood... 2012/04/09 19:46:33
  • Sofahead Grammar... 2012/04/09 22:35:14 (edited)
    Sofahead
    Gee, I wonder how my Mother and other women of her generation functioned without imposing this activity on others in public places.

    They usually took bottles with them.

    I NEVER saw an infant publicly breastfeed growing up, at family events, yes.
  • Mr.Hood... Grammar... 2012/04/10 00:56:52
    Mr.Hoodz the Truth Troll
    Never said anything about anyone governing breast feeding. Nice rant for nothing.
  • Grammar... Mr.Hood... 2012/04/10 01:46:05
    Grammar Freak
    Ah! I'm sorry!
    I thought you were someone else.
    I hadn't read your previous posts when I posted & didn't look close enough at your avatar.
    My rant was not intended for you.
  • Mr.Hood... Grammar... 2012/04/10 12:27:46
    Mr.Hoodz the Truth Troll
    +1
    Its cool.
  • Grandbr... Mr.Hood... 2012/04/09 20:49:58 (edited)
    Grandbrother
    +1
    It's not that simple. If you ever end up married with a new baby that your wife is nursing, you'll look back at this and understand what I mean. And your wife will probably slap you if she finds out you said this...
  • Mr.Hood... Grandbr... 2012/04/10 00:58:25
    Mr.Hoodz the Truth Troll
    Doubt she will. There are pervs out there that will stare. If you don't like it don't do it. I don't see anything wrong with what I wrote and never will.
  • Mr Wayne Stephanie 2012/04/09 17:55:11
    Mr Wayne
    +1
    Ever "people watched" at the mall? Same thing.
  • Grammar... Stephanie 2012/04/09 19:40:41
    Grammar Freak
    +1
    Both comments are a bit silly.
    Staring is not something one can legislate any more than a baby's need to be fed.
  • Sofahead Stephanie 2012/04/09 22:15:08
    Sofahead
    It's idiotic that women think they have should the right to do it absolutely everywhere, anywhere, and at anytime. If they do, they have to accept if they do, there are going to be people who will gawk at them.
  • Mog of War Stephanie 2012/04/10 04:13:21
    Mog of War
    +1
    If the right to do it in public is granted, the right to claim right to privacy whist in public is lost. It's not illegal to stare at them while it's all covered afterall, and the opinion of breastfeeding being allowed in public(one that I share) upholds that an exposed breast to feed by is not inherently prurient in nature; ergo, creepily staring at it is not a violation... it's just creepy.
  • Pug For... Stephanie 2012/04/16 19:16:05
    Pug For Huck
    Honestly THIS is the most idiotice thing I've ever heard. If she doesn't want to be watched, do it in private.
  • Darlin' Mr Wayne 2012/04/09 17:29:42
    Darlin'
    +4
    intense breastfeeding stares may be a fetish ... inconsiderate and rude too ... suggests the integrity of the person staring .... not that of the mother feeding her infant
  • Mr Wayne Darlin' 2012/04/09 17:52:35
    Mr Wayne
    +3
    I didn't mention anyone's character, only that if you wish to do this in public, don't get upset if someone stares.
  • Grandbr... Mr Wayne 2012/04/09 20:53:07
    Grandbrother
    +1
    Wait - why shouldn't a woman who's feeding her infant be allowed to get upset at a guy staring at her while she does it? If we're following your progression of thought, then she has just as much right to get upset as the starer has to stare.
  • Mr Wayne Grandbr... 2012/04/09 20:55:32
    Mr Wayne
    Then I guess that leaves you, hmm, exactly where you are now, doesn't it?
  • Grandbr... Mr Wayne 2012/04/09 21:10:19
    Grandbrother
    It just leaves me with a question you haven't answered. Why shouldn't she get "upset" at someone for staring?
  • Mr Wayne Grandbr... 2012/04/09 21:57:24
    Mr Wayne
    +1
    She should simply be prepared that some people will.
  • Grandbr... Mr Wayne 2012/04/09 23:22:01
    Grandbrother
    +1
    Absolutely. And if she chooses, she can get as upset as she wants about it, because staring is rude.
  • Mr Wayne Grandbr... 2012/04/10 13:36:32
    Mr Wayne
    Tell it to the person doing it, Miss Manners. Not me.
  • Grandbr... Mr Wayne 2012/04/10 19:00:36
    Grandbrother
    Okay, so then you do agree that women breastfeeding in public have every right to get upset if someone's gawking at them?
  • Mr Wayne Grandbr... 2012/04/10 19:23:50
    Mr Wayne
    We're done discussing this.
  • Grandbr... Mr Wayne 2012/04/10 22:18:07
    Grandbrother
    So then be done! Why do you keep saying so over and over?
  • Sofahead Grandbr... 2012/04/09 22:44:24
    Sofahead
    +1
    Why shouldn't she be doing her breastfeeding with more discretion?
  • Grandbr... Sofahead 2012/04/09 23:26:32 (edited)
    Grandbrother
    +2
    Generally speaking, most women do exercise discretion when nursing in public. But even so, I've never been a supporter of policies designed purely to accomodate inappropriate behavior, like prohibiting a woman from breastfeeding her baby because some perverts can't help but stare, or compulsory wearing of burkas so that men won't have to be faced with the temptation of seeing a woman's face or any of her skin.
  • Mr.Hood... Grandbr... 2012/04/10 01:03:02
    Mr.Hoodz the Truth Troll
    +1
    She is in PUBLIC. That's why. I can't get mad at someone staring at me having a conversation on a pay phone can I? It just doesn't make sense. If you want privacy stay out of the public.
  • GLaDOS Mr.Hood... 2012/04/10 11:44:20 (edited)
    GLaDOS
    You can too get mad at someone for staring or listening in on a conversation. Generally, if I catch people staring at me (in general, I haven't had to breastfeed in years), I'll stare back with an irritated expression that tells them I don't like what they're doing. So far in life, that's been enough. I'm waiting for the day that I need to actually call someone out on it, I guess mom was right.
  • Mr.Hood... GLaDOS 2012/04/10 12:31:00
    Mr.Hoodz the Truth Troll
    +1
    You can get mad if you want but you'd be wasting your time since the person isn't committing a crime. Some people will let you stare back and continue to look then what? Not like we can just sock them in the jaw lol. Bottom line is if someone wants privacy doing anything do it in private.
  • GLaDOS Mr.Hood... 2012/04/10 12:54:01 (edited)
    GLaDOS
    I can speak up, and who knows? I may just sock them in the jaw. *shrug* I'm impulsive like that. Did it to a guy who tried to feel me up, before. Right hook... nice one, too.

    Edit: Sufficed to say, I have yet to run into someone where noticing that they're staring, and making it evident, doesn't make them stop.
  • Grandbr... Mr.Hood... 2012/04/10 19:05:03
    Grandbrother
    "I can't get mad at someone staring at me having a conversation on a pay phone can I?"

    Sure you can. Why couldn't you? It's your right to get mad. Say your having a conversation on a payphone, someone walks up and stands like 3 feet away from you just staring and listening to every word you say. Get mad if you like. Tell them to move along, give them a dirty look, yell at them, etc. And if they continue and it's extreme enough, there are harrassment laws...
  • Grammar... Grandbr... 2012/04/10 01:48:37
    Grammar Freak
    +2
    Being upset cannot be legislated. ;-)
  • Grandbr... Grammar... 2012/04/10 19:05:46
    Grandbrother
    +1
    Exactly.
  • Grammar... Darlin' 2012/04/09 19:47:10
    Grammar Freak
    Well put.

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