For years, there were just two states — Utah and Idaho — that did not have laws in place to protect nursing mothers who need to breastfeed in public. But with new legislation, both states are now on board.
The bill passed in Utah with some resistance — the legislation at first stated that “A woman may breastfeed in any place of public accommodation … irrespective of whether the woman’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breast-feeding,” in line with the rest of the country.
But, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, Republican Representative Curt Webb thought the wording would lead to immodesty.
“This seems to say you don’t have to cover up at all,” Webb said. “I’m not comfortable with that, I’m just not. It’s really in your face.”
With the second part of the bill removed — it now just reads that women are permitted “to breastfeed in any place of public accommodation,” it passed through the state legislature with a vote of 66-5.
Idaho’s vote was smoother, with a vote of 66-0 approving legislation that protects breastfeeding mothers from indecent exposure and obscenity laws, according to the Idaho Statesman. However, the bill does not make it completely clear, as other states have done, that women have the right to breastfeed in public.
However, issues with the wording notwithstanding, with these two pieces of legislation it is officially legal to breastfeed in public in all 50 states. The United States is now up to speed with the U.K., Australia and other countries across the world that protect nursing mothers.