Report of a Woman Asked to Stop Breastfeeding in Memphis Area Social Security Office
Via Lindsey at The Memphis Blog, I learned of a report of a woman told by security at a Memphis, TN area Social Security office that she could not breastfeed her eight-month-old baby while waiting in line at the office. When she told the officer that she had the right to breastfeed where she was, the officer and then a manager tried to shuttle her off to a conference room, and was allegedly told that the office as a federal facility has its own rules.
Problem is, there is apparently a law specifically authorizing women to breastfeed on federal property where they are otherwise allowed to be – and it’s been law for more than a decade (see section 647).
Tennessee law is also quite clear, stating that “A mother has a right to breastfeed her child who is twelve (12) months of age or younger in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be present,” and is specifically exempted from charges of indecent exposure (see title 68, chapter 58).
Even that 12-month age limit will be removed this year; a bill doing so was signed into law in April and will take effect July 1.
To be clear, I don’t know the blogger reporting this experience and have no firsthand knowledge of the report. However, I haven’t seen any news outlets (aside from Lindsey) pick up on the story and investigate it further, so I thought I’d give it a signal boost, and also use the opportunity to remind people of the law.