Idaho is the only state in the country where breastfeeding mothers can be cited or arrested for indecent exposure. But a newly introduced bill could change that.
“I think its long overdue. We’re so excited and so ecstatic that Idaho is finally on board with making this happen for breastfeeding moms,” said Katie Leask, a registered dietitian & internationally board certified lactation consultant.
49 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, all have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. But not in Idaho.
“Probably because Idaho has some of the highest rates of breastfeeding in the country. So they probably felt this bill wasn’t necessary,” Leask said.
Though that could change. Rep. Paul Amador, from Coeur d’Alene, says the bill would exempt breastfeeding mothers from Idaho’s indecent exposure law.
“And now, finally, we’re meeting up with the other states. So we’re finally onboard,” said Leask.
KIFI/KIDK’s local Facebook users seem to be heavily in favor of the proposed bill, with only 43 angry reactions. Commenter’s saying, “…as long as the baby is getting fed.”
“If you don’t like it — simply look away.”
There is confusion about people being okay with the sexualization of breasts — but not being okay with doing what breasts were designed for in the comments.
And some saying, I support it — “…but still cover up.”
“Socially, I think, breastfeeding has become more normalized and we’re seeing more women do it, and of all different ages. We’re seeing younger women, we’re seeing older women. By promoting breastfeeding and encouraging it, it’s just helping our babies and our future children for years down the road become more healthy, just for the nutrition aspect,” Leask said. “My advice is to breastfeed. Go out in public, bring it to the forefront. Let people see that this is normal and natural and this is what out bodies were meant to do.”
The House Judiciary, Rules and Administration committee unanimously agreed to introduce the bill. It must now clear a full hearing.
KIFI/KIDK checked with the Idaho Falls Police Department; in recent years, deputies have not cited any woman breastfeeding for indecent exposure.