Jacquelyn Daugherty says she was kicked out of an Oklahoma mall for breastfeeding, in violation of state law, and is organizing a nurse-in

By Julie Mazziotta
December 14, 2017 11:31 AM
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An Oklahoma mom says she was kicked out of Lawton Central Mall for breastfeeding.

Jacquelyn Daugherty was shopping at the southwestern Oklahoma mall when her 9-month-old son got hungry. She found a nearby table and started nursing him, until a security guard approached her and told her to leave.

“He told me that it was indecent exposure, and that I needed to go to my car or the restroom. And I handed him my Oklahoma breastfeeding law card, and he said that it doesn’t matter, that I’m on the mall’s property, and that I need to leave,” Daugherty told KSWO. “So I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it at the time. I just decided that I was going to pack up and leave; I’ll just go home and nurse him.”

Lawton Central Mall told PEOPLE in a statement that they have alternative locations for mothers to breastfeed, but they are addressing the situation.

“At Central Mall Lawton, we are committed to providing our customers and employees with an enjoyable shopping environment. As part of this commitment, we provide many offerings designed for families including family bathrooms, nursing areas and play areas. We also have a private nursing area in our ladies restroom. As a family-friendly destination, we do allow women to breastfeed in the center and are addressing the recent situation involving a nursing mother.”

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Daugherty, along with the breastfeeding rights group the La Leche League, is now organizing a nurse-in at the mall on Friday with other nursing moms.

“We’re going to meet up and we’re all going to nurse our babies together so none of us feel like we’re being singled out,” Dougherty said. “We’re all together, we’re all going to be confident in this. We’re all going to let it be known we’re okay with this and it’s okay to do this and we legally can.”

She also points out that mothers being intimidated from following their legal right to breastfeed in public is a problem across the country.

“There are a lot of moms in America today that are constantly being put down just for nursing their children,” Daugherty said. “It shouldn’t matter how you take care of your baby as long as you take care of them. It shouldn’t be a thing where people just stare and criticize and say bad things about me because all I’m doing is being a mom.”