We are proud to say that history is being made for the better in the breastfeeding world. Believe it or not, the state of Virginia is one of 3 states (Idaho and South Dakota being the others) that does not have a law on the books stating that a breastfeeding mother is free to feed her baby wherever she is lawfully present. Virginia has stepped up and is in the process of updating their breastfeeding laws.
You might be wondering what started this crusade. A couple of months ago, the Best for Babes NIP Hotline received a call asking for support. This mother had been harassed for breastfeeding her baby in a Gold’s Gym in Virginia. She was harassed by upper management and the private owner of this particular Gold’s Gym. The owner and management stood proudly behind the fact that Virginia did not have a law to support the rights of breastfeeding women. So what happened next? That’s right, Babes…the campaign to make changes in Virginia.
On Monday, February 9, 2015, the breastfeeding bill cleared the Virginia legislature with a unanimous vote of 38-0. The bill was introduced by State Senator Jennifer Wexton. Senator Wexton introduced this bill after she became aware of the harassment at Gold’s Gym.
Jill DeLorenzo is the fearless mother who vowed to make changes to Virginia law after her negative experience at Gold’s Gym. Jill has been a crucial component to this breastfeeding bill being passed, and it was her story that caught the attention of local lawmakers in Virginia. In her testimony to support the bill, Jill states “I ask that the Virginia General Assembly challenge this notion that our state is a bastion for people who wish to harass and degrade women for feeding their children. Nobody should interfere with a mother feeding her child – no matter how that child is fed – when that mother is in any location where she is authorized to be. I respectfully ask that you take this opportunity to make the harassment that I faced a relic of the past. Please help millions of moms and babies to come who have chosen to provide the very best for their babies while in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Kate Noon is a mother, activist and key player who worked tirelessly with lawmakers to make this happen. In a recent interview, Kate says “The proposed bills are common sense legislation that would bring Virginia in-line with the norms around the rest of the country.”
Kate, Jill, and the rest of the country should expect this to be on the books by July 1, 2015.
The Best for Babes NIP hotline is more than proud to say that we offered support for Jill when this first happened that day at Gold’s Gym. We are proud of the actions from Jill and Kate, 2 mothers who believe enough in breastfeeding that they made a change that will positively impact mothers from here on out.
Kate Noon has started a Facebook page to keep everyone up to date on what’s happening with the VA breastfeeding law. Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/VAallianceforbflaws
So who wants to take on Idaho and South Dakota? The NIP hotline will be behind you the whole way. We got your back, Babes.