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Feb 7, 2013 8:10 PM by Akeam Ashford

Woman says she was not allowed to breast feed in public

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, forty-five states, including Louisiana have laws specifically allowing women to breastfeed in any public or private location. Louisiana also prohibits any child care facility from discriminating against breastfed babies. Mississippi requires licensed child care facilities to provide breastfeeding mothers with a sanitary place that is not a toilet stall to breastfeed their children or express milk.

Yesterday, Stormie Bourgeois says an employee in St. Martin courthouse told her she was not allowed to breastfeed her 14-month old child. "Even after my mom informed her that it is a federal law and a state law she still refused to let me; she just kept saying no," says Bourgeois.

The Assistant District Attorney says he was told about the situation immediately and that no one's rights were violated. Chester Cedar says, "I know that the employee involved in this from our office acted approprietly and within the bounds of common decency."

Cedars says there was no objection to the mother feeding her child. He says, "once the breastfeeding had ended the mother kept her breast exposed." Cedar also says the employee who asked Bourgeois to cover herself is a mother and his office is very sensitive to the need to breastfeed.

There is secured file footage that did show Bourgeois breastfeeding her child two separate times for a total of two minutes. There is no audio with the video, and you can't tell when the employee asked Bourgeois not to breastfeed.

Bourgeois says, "Personally, I just want my story heard because it encourages all women." She says it's a natural occurance. "I think its a wonderful bond, just being able to be your kids complete provider."

Caitrin Alb who is a representative with the Louisiana Coalition for Breastfeeding says, "A woman is well within her rights to breastfeed in public, but the situation can become an issue of indecent exposure after the child is finished feeding."

For more information on breastfeeding laws visit: http://www.louisianabreastfeedingcoalition.org/.



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