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Texas House Bill Aims To Protect Breastfeeding In Public

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Michelle Hickman was kicked out of a Target store several years ago for breast feeding her child in public, now there’s a proposed Texas State House Bill that would prevent such a thing from happening again.

House Bill 1706 in the Texas Legislature would legally prohibiting anyone from interfering with a nursing mother in public, a protection breast-feeding advocate Michelle Hickman feels new mothers need.

“75% of all mothers in Texas initiate breastfeeding” said Hickman. “Would they (those opposed to public breast feeding) like 75% of us to just stay at home and not patronize businesses and let the Texas economy completely tank?”

Hickman, who was the organizer of a national ‘nurse-in’ two years ago, says that nursing mothers really do need legal protections as their dignity and sometimes even their safety is at risk.

“In January I got a call from a mother who was nursing her baby — and in clear objection to her nursing her baby — someone decided to take an object and throw it. It hit the baby in the head.” said Hickman.

But Texas State Representative Debbie Riddle (R-District 150) thinks the bill goes too far and could encourage frivolous lawsuits.

“I am a mother of three and a grandmother of ten. I breastfed. I support breastfeeding. I wholeheartedly support the current breastfeeding law in Texas, which allows a mother to breastfeed her baby anywhere she is allowed to be. However, I do not support passing legislation which increases the number of lawsuits in our courts. Because House Bill 1706 paves the way for more litigation, I do not support it.”

Riddle thinks people need to use more common sense and breastfeeding mothers should be more modest.

“What if the manager comes over out of common courtesy and says ‘ma’am would you like to use my private office,’ that could be grounds to sue. This is really taking things over the top.” said Riddle.

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