Racy Hollister Okay with Sexy Pics, Not Breastfeeding, for Tweens

Did you know that even if your state has a law protecting your right to nurse in public, you may not have a legal remedy if someone violates your right?

Say, for example, you live in Texas, like Brittany Warfield, who was recently screamed at for nursing near a Hollister store in Houston . . . yes, Hollister, the company that is famous for their sexy, half-nude, sweat-inducing giant posters on every wall.  In Texas, § 165.002 declares that “A mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be.” If you, like Brittany, are in a Texas mall nursing your child  seated just outside the entrance to a store discreetly nursing your hungry baby, and the store manager yells at you , kicks you off of store property, and humiliates you as if you were beating your child, do you have any legal action against the manager or store?

No. Without an enforcement provision, a breastfeeding mother may have no legal course of action if her right to nurse in public has been violated. In other words, without an additional law in place that says a mother may bring an action if her right is violated, a breastfeeding law is without any force.

You can read more about Brittany’s story at KVUE.com, and you can join hundreds of mothers in Houston and around the country who are organizing a nurse-in at Hollister stores for Saturday, January 5, 2013. Learn more about the nurse-in on Facebook.

How sad that Brittany lives in a state that doesn’t have an enforcement provision to make it easier for her to get relief. And sadder still that our cultural squeamishness about breastfeeding often leads to bullying a mom for nursing –something so necessary and good for the health of her baby, herself, and the environment!

Hollister ads show way more breast than most nursing moms.

The Houston Galleria and Hollister and retailers everywhere should know that moms are demanding more than an apology, they want the harassment to stop.  However,  as in the case of other laws born of indiscriminate and harmful behavior, i.e., sexual harassment, it’s going to take both legislative action and corporate change if we are to really do right by our most precious population –babies and moms.  In clear terms, the harassment is likely to continue until companies educate and train their employees about how to treat their breastfeeding customers and about the legal rights of mothers to nurse-in-public. 

At this time, only a handful of states have enforcement provisions for their breastfeeding laws. Among these states are Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Vermont, and the remedies for a violation of the breastfeeding laws vary from state to state. (1)

In the few short months that Best for Babe’s 1-888-NIP-FREE Nursing in Public Harassment Hotline 1-888-NIP-FREE has been in existence, we’ve heard from dozens of mothers who have had their breastfeeding rights violated, and at least two of these mothers are now pursuing legal action.

In one case, a breastfeeding mother’s family business is being forced out of a shared building because other workers were uncomfortable with her nursing her baby. She is bringing suit under Illinois’s breastfeeding law’s enforcement provision.

In the second case, a restaurant server placed a dish towel over a nursing baby’s head without permission. Unfortunately, the state where this occurred does not have an enforcement provision for its breastfeeding law, but the mother is taking legal action on other grounds.

One of the purposes behind the Nursing in Public Harassment Hotline is to assist mothers across the country to learn how to strengthen legislation and add enforcement provisions to every state’s laws.

If you’ve ever been discriminated against for nursing in public and have brought an action against someone (whether under your breastfeeding law’s enforcement provision or under a different statute), we’d love to hear from you. We’d like to learn from your experiences, and we may ask you to mentor other mothers in the future who are considering filing legal action.

Cheer on a nursing mom! Order our Thank You for NIP cards :-)  Just $3 for 10 cards, free shipping!

If you’ve ever taken legal action over the violation of breastfeeding rights (your own or a client’s), or if you have been involved in lobbying to implement or strengthen breastfeeding laws and enforcement provisions, please email me.  I’m not only part of Best for Babe’s Legal and Take Action Committees, I’m also co-founder of NursingFreedom.org and Natural Parents Network and author of Code Name: Mama. I am passionate about protecting the rights of breastfeeding pairs, and I’d love to connect with you. You can get in touch with me at Dionna {at} CodeNameMama {dot} com.

And please help keep our 1-855-NIP-FREE Nursing Harassment Hotline Alive!  Your donations, no matter how small make it possible to provide this badly-need public service to moms and babies!

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(1) For more on state laws regarding breastfeeding, see Breastfeeding Laws at NursingFreedom.org. To learn more about enforcement provisions, read Lactation and the Law and Why Is an Enforcement Provision Important? at BreastfeedingLaw.com.

Thank you for breastfeeding! cards

 

 



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4 Responses to Racy Hollister Okay with Sexy Pics, Not Breastfeeding, for Tweens

  1. Jake Marcus says:

    Unfortunately the state information at Nursing Freedom is not up to date (see error in first paragraph) and does not help with interpretation. With respect, I recommend my site as a better source for state breastfeeding law.

  2. Angela says:

    An additional problem with Texas is the fact that the “right” is contained in the health code. Although businesses do have to abide by health codes, some to more degree than others, they generally scoff at someone holding up health code over the rights of the owners to decide who can and can’t do what on their property. It also doesn’t have any affect on child protective services issues (such as breastfeeding an older child in public or snapping pictures of your breastfeeding bub) because they are looking at the family law code, not the health code.

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