Breastfeeding Mothers Protest in Kentucky

I have a friend who likes to tell a story about breastfeeding. She had taken her daughter to the hospital to see a doctor. While her husband staying in with the daughter, she took her youngest to the lobby to breastfeed her. A lady who worked at the hospital (I don’t know if it was nurse or not) came over to her and told her they had a special place for her to breastfeed. She was horrified when the hospital lady took her to the ladies room. There was a chair there, but she likes to say ‘Who would want to eat their dinner in the bathroom?”

And the debate about public breastfeeding continues. Corday Piston was breastfeeding her daughter on a Newport, Kentucky Johnny Rockets patio when a manager approached her and asked her to move to a public bench. When Piston protested, saying it was too hot, the manager asked her to move to the bathroom. Like my friend, Piston thought that idea was disgusting and refused, so the manager asked her to leave. His or her reasoning (I don’t know the sex of the manager) was that Piston’s breastfeeding was making other patrons uncomfortable.

Piston decided not to let this one go and she, along with other breastfeeding moms, organized a nationwide protest of Johnny Rockets locations. Close to a dozen moms stood outside the Newport Johnny Rockets last Sunday with signs that read “Public breastfeeding is legal” and “Mothers are not second class citizens.”

Piston pointed out that she was not breaking any laws by breastfeeding in public. In fact, the law is on her side. Kentucky state law 211-755 “permits a mother to breast-feed her baby or express breast milk in any public or private location. Requires that breast-feeding may not be considered an act of public indecency, indecent exposure, sexual conduct, lewd touching or obscenity. Prohibits a municipality from enacting an ordinance that prohibits or restricts breast-feeding in a public or private place.”

The owner of Newport’s Johnny Rockets, Rick Thompson, said, “We feel like we were not treated fairly. It’s just a very frustrating thing, we never asked her to leave. She sat down next to a family with young children and it shocked them. We apologized and shouldn’t have to — it’s a natural thing.”

What do you think? Personally, I think breastfeeding in public is fine if it is discreet. However, I’ve known mothers that weren’t very discreet. Should Piston have been asked to leave if she was making other patrons uncomfortable? Do they have the right to eat without being uncomfortable?

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Libby Pelham

About Libby Pelham

I have always loved to write and gives me the opportunity to share my passion for writing with others. I work full-time as a web developer at UTHSC and most of my other time is spent with my son (born 2004). I love everything pop culture, but also enjoy writing about green living (it has opened my eyes to many things!) and health (got to worry about that as you get older!).