City councilor: Ordinance should allow public breastfeeding

breast feeding

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An Albuquerque city councilor says the City’s current public indecency ordinance doesn’t have an exception for breastfeeding moms, and she wants to change that.

“The way it reads now, you could potentially be violating city ordinance by breastfeeding,” Diane Gibson, District 7 City Councilor, said.

Written into law, it’s against the law for a woman to expose her breast and nipple “with less than a fully opaque covering.”

Gibson says what that ordinance lacks is an amendment for lactating moms.

“I thought that that needed to be repaired,” Gibson said.

That’s why, on Monday night, Gibson is introducing the needed amendment to the ordinance, she said.

As far as she knows, a nursing mom has never been cited by police, but she wants no gray area.

“[The amendment] puts the city laws more in alignment with state laws, and I think ours is a little more specific than perhaps state law is,” she said.

Passed in 1999, state law says that a woman can breastfeed “in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be present.”

“We see ourselves as a breastfeeding supportive community,” Caitlin Henke, interim director of UNM’s Women’s Resource Center, said.

The WRC has 20 “Lactation Stations” around campus that give moms a quiet, private place to feed or pump milk.

But Henke says if a mom wants to do it in public, she has that right; Gibson’s amendment, if it passes, will only help moms feel more comfortable.

“You should be allowed to breastfeed wherever you are,” Henke said.

The amendment will be introduced Monday night at City Council. Gibson said she is optimistic that it will receive support.

It’s expected to head to committee, where it will have to pass before going to vote before councilors.

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