June 24, 2014 at 11:15 pm

Gov signs right to breast-feed legislation

Lansing— Nursing mothers on Tuesday won the right to breast-feed their children in public without being asked to leave or go into a bathroom under legislation Gov. Rick Snyder signed.

Snyder signed legislation that makes it illegal for a public facility to prohibit women from nursing in plain view.“By supporting new mothers we help ensure good infant health, reduce infant mortality rates and prevent obesity,” Snyder said in a statement.

Breast-feeding supporters have long sought the legal protection after reports of incidents of restaurant and shopping mall operators asking women to leave or feed their child in the bathroom. In one case at a Target in Harper Woods in 2009, store employees called police, according to a report by the nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency.

The new law, which takes effect immediately, will “decriminalize breastfeeding” by protecting women from being charged with incident exposure or disorderly conduct for exposing a breast in public to feed their infants, said Shannon Polk, executive director of the Michigan Breastfeeding Network.

“We believe every women should have the right to breast-feed in public,” Polk said Tuesday.