Breastfeeding and the Law

Bumped into this very interesting article and thought it’d be worth reprinting here…
50 State Summary of Breastfeeding Laws
Updated December 2004
More than half of the states (37) have enacted legislation related to breastfeeding.
Thirty two states allow mothers to breastfeed in any public or private location (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Texas, Vermont and Virginia).
Fifteen states exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws (Alaska, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin).
Ten states have laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace (California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington).
Six states exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty (California, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Oregon).
Four states have implemented or encouraged the development of a breastfeeding awareness education campaign (California, Illinois, Missouri, and Vermont).

Several states have unique laws related to breastfeeding. For instance,

  • California and Texas have laws related to the procurement, processing, distribution or use of human milk.
  • Louisiana prohibits any child care facility from discriminating against breastfed babies.
  • Maine requires courts, when awarding parental rights and responsibilities with respect to a child, to consider whether the child is under age one, and being breastfed.
  • Maryland exempts from the sales and use tax the sale of tangible personal property that is manufactured for the purpose of initiating, supporting or sustaining breastfeeding.
  • Rhode Island requires the Department of Health to prepare a consumer mercury alert notice, explaining the danger of eating mercury-contaminated fish to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding their children.

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

2 comments on “Breastfeeding and the Law

  1. I work in NY state and have been dealing with some discrimination issues based on my need to express milk in the work place. Are there laws in NY state to protect me???

  2. Don’t know, but I bet your local district attorney would know, Cathy. Try looking them up in the phone book and giving the DA’s office a call. Good luck!

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