Ouch: Rep. Jessica Farrar Again Seeks to Put Teeth in Breastfeeding Law

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As new mothers know, infants are not the most patient people when it comes to getting fed.

If they get hungry, and you're a breastfeeding mom who hasn't brought along a bottle of your best, then it's time to whip out a breast.

In Texas, if you happen to do that in the establishment of someone who gets the vapors at the thought of a woman breastfeeding, then you can find yourself getting tossed. This can go for employees, too, if they try to feed their kids in the workplace.

Try it in Texas, and a federal judge might rule it's perfectly fine you got fired, because lactation has nothing to do with pregnancy.

Texas has a law that at least seems to protect women who breastfeed in public, but it doesn't seem to have much effect and is largely ignored. Houston state rep Jessica Farrar is trying to change that and has introduced a bill that would...ummm...put some teeth in it, which to be honest sounds like the last thing a breastfeeding mom would want.

House Bill 1706 takes several tacks in giving breastfeeding moms more power.

Currently the law says women can breastfeed "in any location in which the mother is authorized to be." Wily shopkeepers have claimed a loophole in that phrasing, but Farrar's bill shuts it down: "A mother's authority to be in a location may not be revoked for the sole reason that she begins to breast-feed," it says.

The bill would also allow a woman to sue "for compensatory damages" if she's not allowed to breastfeed in public. That's something that riles up the business lobby, of course, meaning Farrar's bill has a tough road ahead of it. (She's tried and failed to get a similar bill passed at least three times prior to this one.)

Few people are betting the current Texas Legislature will create a new way to sue good, honest, Lee Greenwood-playin' small businessmen. But who knows? Babies gotta be fed.....

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