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Woman kicked out of court for breastfeeding in Arkansas

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

The irony...kicked out of a court of law, the same court of law that protects her right to breastfeed.

Now here's my question...the Arkansas state law says: Ark. Stat. Ann. § 5-14-112 and § 20-27-2001 (2007) allow a woman to breastfeed in any public or private location where other individuals are present. The law also exempts breastfeeding women from indecent exposure laws.

(there's also a law pertaining to workplaces, but that's not relevant here)

Is a courtroom a public or private location? Or does it fall under Governmental? If it's considered Governmental (therefore not public or private) then does the Federal law apply? It's a county court...
post #2 of 10
Did the baby have the legal right to be in the courtroom?
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
I don't know. The article seems to imply that the bailiff had no issue with the baby being there, only took issue with the mom breastfeeding.

If there was even one other baby/child in that room, then that argument is void.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
And actually, I just re-read the law, many state laws say something like "where the child is otherwise entitled to be" or something along those lines. But Arkansas law does not say that, it says where other people are present.
post #5 of 10
According to the CDC, Arkansas ranks last in the nation when it comes to correct breastfeeding success.
And I wonder how many women and girls were in the room when this happened -- or who will read this article -- and decide not to breastfeed because they don't want to be publicly humiliated in the same way?

(But what does "correct breastfeeding success" mean? Is there such a thing as "incorrect" breastfeeding success? Or are they just being redundant?)
post #6 of 10
Thanks for the link. That makes me MAD
That it was in a courtof law, and she was ordered to be there!!!

I am in AR btw. Breasting rates are terrible.
post #7 of 10
I too am in Arkansas. In 2008 I had to appear in court for a speeding ticket. I was nursing my 7 month old son and was told that no children are allowed in the courtroom under the age of 6. I contacted the local breast feeding coalition and got help from their attorney. Unfortunately, I could not take my son with me and had to leave to pump in my car. I contacted the baliff ahead of time to explain why I needed to leave the courtroom in the event my name was called. He was very understanding and said he would watch for me. Since it was traffic court, they were in a hurry to move folks in and out and I was there for about 2-1/2 hours all together.
post #8 of 10
What is allowed in an individual courtroom is generally entirely up to the individual judge. The law that governs the courthouse (which is state or federal law depending on whether it is a state or federal courthouse) won't determine what the judge will allow in "his" courtroom.

In a state with no public breastfeeding law, I had a judge not only let me bring my baby into the courtroom, he invited me to nurse my son in his chambers as needed. The judge offered when a case I was trying ran over and I told him I needed to leave to nurse my son. The judge then made the offer so I would be more comfortable. Floored me and without question the most positive experience I had as a nursing lawyer. But it was totally up to him.
post #9 of 10
Does that judge typically permit babies in his courtroom? Many do not.
post #10 of 10
Originally Posted by seren View Post
Here's a quote from another local story.

The 2007 breastfeeding in public law was sponsored by Little Rock Rep. Pam Adcock. She is not happy that Mrs. House was told not to breastfeed in the courtroom. Adcock says it never occurred to her to specify locations when writing the bill. The state rep. has said she plans to contact Attorney General Dustin McDaniel herself.

This is great news! The involvement of a legislator will draw much needed attention and perhaps she will then draft more specific legislation. The recent Arkansas workplace pumping law ROCKS so this is a legislature willing to work positively on this issue.
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