You may not know it, but it’s perfectly legal to breast-feed your child in a public or private location in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. KRS 211.755(3) states that: “No person shall interfere with a mother breast-feeding her child in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be.” Unfortunately, however, some people are still uncomfortable seeing a woman breastfeed, so the debate rages on.
In one such debate, an assistant anthropology professor at American University has ignited a new debate about the parameters of breastfeeding law and policy by bringing her baby to the first day of class when the child unexpectedly awakened with a fever that day.
In a Counterculture essay, she felt doing so was a better option than canceling the first session of her introductory Sex, Gender and Culture class. Prof. Pine posted the essay after a student newspaper reporter interviewed her and questioned her decision to breastfeed the baby during the Aug. 28 class. Now the university has weighed in, too, saying in a Tuesday statement that Pines should have taken the day off if she couldn’t arrange emergency childcare and taking issue with her characterization of students in her essay, the Washington Post reports.
Pine says in her essay that no one had previously objected to her breastfeeding in public, including outside the university setting, until after she brought her baby to that one class session and what she considers a nonevent was pursued by the student paper as a possible news story.
“To be honest, if there were an easy way I could feed my child without calling attention to my biological condition as a mother, which inevitably assumes primacy over my preferred public status as anthropologist, writer, professor, and solidarity worker, I would do so,” she writes in the Counterpunch essay. “But there is not.”
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Kurt A. Scharfenberger