Breastfeeding: Senator Rob Schaaf Proposes Bill To Protect Moms, Nursing In Public

Categories: Politics

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Missouri Breastfeeding Coalition
Here's a health-related bill from a Republican lawmaker in Missouri that just perhaps may not face intense backlash from women's rights groups across the state and country. It's State Senator Rob Schaaf's breast-feeding bill -- a proposal to give women better protections to nurse in public.

"It's all around a good thing when moms nurse their babies," Schaaf, a Republican who represents St. Joseph, tells Daily RFT. "We need to encourage them, not discourage them."

How exactly would his proposal support breast-feeding mothers in Missouri?

Senate Bill 87 makes it clear that the act of a mother breastfeeding a child or expressing breast milk in public is permitted.

No matter what local law says.

"There are some municipal ordinances against indecent exposure...and some of them are just inhibitory," he tells us. "Women are afraid, so they don't do it."

Rob Schaaf, Senate.jpeg
schaafforsenate.com
State Senator Rob Schaaf

If passed, his bill would remove any doubt and provide clear protection for women who choose to breastfeed in public, he says.

As written, the bill, full version below, says:

To restrict or limit the right of a mother to breast-feed her child is discriminatory.

The act of a mother breast-feeding a child or expressing breast milk in a public or private location where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be shall not:
(1) Constitute sexual conduct or sexual contact as defined in section 566.010; or
(2) Be considered an act of public indecency, indecent exposure, sexual conduct, lewd touching, or obscenity or any other similar term for purposes of state or municipal law.

A municipality shall not enact an ordinance prohibiting or restricting a mother from breast-feeding a child or expressing breast milk in a public or private location where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be.

Schaaf is a family physician and says that breastfeeding is healthier than bottle-feeding, which he argues costs the state a lot of money due to the medical problems it more often creates.

"What we need to do is encourage women in every possible way to breastfeed their kids," he says. "As a physician, I feel like we just need to not inhibit them."

Continue for more of our interview with Rob Schaaf and the full draft bill.



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68 comments
Linda Greco Swank Workman
Linda Greco Swank Workman

This issue gets me SO fired up. Western society has skewed what breasts represent SO MUCH that silicone implants are normal and feeding my baby is NOT? GIVE ME A BREAK! Go to any other country on the PLANET and see what's NORMAL.

Emily Malabey
Emily Malabey

You'll see more provocative things on magazine covers at grocery store checkouts than a mom feeding her baby discreetly. :)

Emily Malabey
Emily Malabey

This is the US, not a country that hides women and forces women to cover faces to ankles, and to live in the shadows. If a child is hungry why should the mother be forced to feed him or her in the bathroom where people eliminate? Or "stay home and pump"? Because some people don't like it? Unbelievable.

Savage Sun
Savage Sun

Dawnatello, you have a right to your opinion but as soon as you start telling other people what to do with their bodies, your opinion becomes null and void. Women do not have to stay home to feed their children. Breastfeeding in public is legal in at least 45 states and it will eventually become legal in all states, as it should be. For you to think that one of the most natural life affirming acts is gross means that you have some trauma that created a warped sense of reality. You should really look into why your views are so distorted on this issue. What is common courtesy is for you to look the other way when a woman is nourishing her child in public. http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/breastfeeding-state-laws.aspx

Jennifer Krieger
Jennifer Krieger

Moms who are already busy should not have to spend countless hours pumping milk just so they can leave the house without offending people. Get over it. You see more tits in adverts and at the pool or the mall than you'll see when moms are nursing and nursing is far better than drinking pumped milk from a bottle. It is also more affordable and much easier. Why is it okay to bare women's bodies for sexual consumption and entertainment but when it's to nourish a child suddenly it's "stay home or pump"? If more women nursed in public it would be normalized again.

Elaphrosaurus Morgan
Elaphrosaurus Morgan

im not gross if anything i have respect for those around me who dont want to see that, im intitled to my own opinions and if ur gonna have your kid sucking on ur boob do it at home, they make pumps, its only common courtesy

Savage Sun
Savage Sun

I won't disagree with you James, but the problem is that it is an issue to begin with. We should live in a culture where people are desensitized to something very natural. I guarantee that your ancestors going way back (you know, the ones that made it possible for you to be here) weren't all up in arms when a tribal woman was feeding her child, regardless of where she was. When a baby needs to eat, it needs to eat. He or she is not concerned with whether or not they are in your hardware store. We need to support women on this one, wholeheartedly. We need to honor the sacred feminine nature and breathe life back into our society.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

Totally support the idea that mothers should not be arrested for feeding their children. However, property owners should have the right to ask people not eat in their stores, including babies. While breast feeding in a store that does not want feeding ought not be a criminal offense (much like the bill proposes), the property owner should have the right to ask the mother and child leave or move to a designated area.

One person's rights end where another person's rights start.

James Madison
James Madison

Public places, as in government owned, yes. Private property, as in businesses and such, that should be up to the property owner.

Savage Sun
Savage Sun

What the hell is wrong with our culture and government that this is even an issue? We shouldn't even need a law protecting this. It's a fundamental aspect of nature. Everyone else can just piss off.

Ayca Akgul
Ayca Akgul

Breast pumps are like frozen food. They're there when you need it but they're not the best choice.

Ayca Akgul
Ayca Akgul

Dawnatello Morgan, or whoever you are, I'm just going to ignore your comment and you as a rude human being! By the way you write and spell, I can already tell that you're very uneducated! You're the gross one and you should be ashamed of yourself as a woman!!!!

Rita Konertz-Lee
Rita Konertz-Lee

Breast feeding is a natural and healthy way to feed your baby. Yes, it should be allowed in public. The mother should be discreet about it, but yes, it should be allowed.

Elaphrosaurus Morgan
Elaphrosaurus Morgan

no i consider it indecent exposure they make pumps for a reason! a guys penis is for urination not just a sex orgin and u cant just whip it out every time u need to pee they have bathrooms, if your gonna breast feed pump if u know your going out that or do it in the privacy of your own home no one wants to see that while there eating, etc.. it gross!

Emily Malabey
Emily Malabey

Um. I thought they were already "allowed" to feed their children in public......

Kathy Wunderlich
Kathy Wunderlich

I have and will continue to breastfeed my child when and where he is hungry! If you really want to sneak a peak, then you are the sick one with a problem! If my child is hungry, I will feed him, regardless of what the general public thinks. I am still more covered then half the girls walking around!

Ayca Akgul
Ayca Akgul

What kind of question is that? Would you like it if you were told where to eat your food? Breast milk is the best thing for babies and young children and there is nothing weird about a mother feeding it's young. What really is wrong is all of these adults still nursing on cows milk!

Rachel Walsh-Hedgcoth
Rachel Walsh-Hedgcoth

Jim Walsh III you are insane! Breastfeeding is the best thing for a child! You must be a perv to think a mother lacks dignity feeding their child in public! If a mother choses to breastfeed (the best thing for their child) they have the right to feed the child when they get hungry. Would you like to drink synthetic milk or real milk?People are so close minded!

Christy Shortt
Christy Shortt

If you aren't offended by bottles you shouldn't be offended by a breast, it is just different/healthier packaging. If you want to be offended be, offended that many formulas are made from GMO soybeans and aren't labeled!

Julie Minor Carroll
Julie Minor Carroll

Seden It wasn't not allowed but it also wasn't protected. So depending on the city or officer or facility you could deal with being hassled.

Craig Stevens
Craig Stevens

Ah ya...duh! Why would this even be in question? If someone asked my wife to leave while feeding my son I would ask them if they would like a side of ketchup to go with my boot!

Lindsey Pandamonium
Lindsey Pandamonium

YES!! (and LOL at some of the guys eager responses!) To the one saying it would be gross if he was at a restaurant eating. So its ok for the bottle babies to eat, or for you to shovel food in your mouth...but not the breast fed baby? Its not like she has it pulled out sitting on a dinner napkin. They have nursing blankets to keep you covered. People, like all other mammals, have been nursing their young since the dawn of time. When did it become vulgar? And for the religious folk...do you really think Joseph hopped a camel and road to the nearest super market for some formula? I dont think so. :)

Jason Day
Jason Day

Not only should they be allowed to but they should have to pop the other one out because sometimes that little head gets in the way.

Julie Minor Carroll
Julie Minor Carroll

If a baby is hungry a baby is hungry. It doesn't understand "please wait 30 mins until we get home." My youngest refused a bottle so there was no option. It can be done discreetly and it shows less than most clothes show these days!

Nicole N Kevin P
Nicole N Kevin P

Yes, the purpose of breasts is to feed offspring. Their purpose is not for sexual entertainment. Although, for some reason the sexualization of breasts has become more acceptable than the feeding of young. You see less skin when a baby is breastfed than in a string bikini. Babies need to eat!

Daniel Benedict
Daniel Benedict

I don't have a problem with them doing it appropriately. but if i'm sitting say, in a restaurant eating, I don't need to see that anymore than i need to see anything else other than what you should see in a restaurant. (that goes for anything).

Brian Blood
Brian Blood

I think it should be personnel choice. I wouldn't want my wife pulling out the boob in public. But that is up to her.

Angela Minor
Angela Minor

Of course! If you think it's gross, get over it. Why is it ok for my kids to see sexualized photos of breasts on magazines at the grocery store check-out, but a mother feeding her baby is disgusting? Most of the time, you can't even tell when a baby is nursing.

moonfire86
moonfire86

@Dawnatello Morgan seriouly i worked 65 hr weeks when my lo was young i spent tons of time pumping but could only get enough milk for her for while i was at work should i have never gone to the peditrion because i didnt have a extra bottle of milk so i could leave the house and honestly what is wrong with seeing a boob serve its purpose do you complain at pools or about the magizes adds or tv ads that show way more then i do when i feed my kid

Deb45
Deb45

@Christy Shortt While I agree with you about GMOs in formula guess what? It's in her breast milk too because 70% of packaged foods now have GMOs in them. So baby is going to get those cancer-causing GMOs either way & start puberty at 7 because of them!

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