Nicole - posted on 05/18/2011 ( 4 moms have responded )
I am asking for all of your help!!! We need to bombard Forest Park, GA with emails and telephone calls. They are passing a ban on public breastfeeding if a woman is breastfeeding a child older than 2 years old! Not everyone makes it even close to breastfeeding to the 2 year mark, nor do they want to, but for some women and their children, breastfeeding is a normal day to day occurrence and it is not up to the local government to decide when a woman weans her child. Not to mention that they are implementing this new ban citing that it is to control the nudity problem in Forest Park. Yeah! Because a woman has to be nude to breastfeed! Or that it only becomes indecent when the child hits the magical number of 24 months! Puh-lease! This will also set a precedent. We all know that if they can ban breastfeeding at 2 years, why not 1 year? Or younger? You can see how this could get out of control...
Anyway, in the end, it also violates the State of Georgia's own breastfeeding legislation and needs to be stopped!
Here is the story: http://www.wsbtv.com/news/27920007/detai...
And these are the emails and phone numbers for the Mayor's office: City Hall: 404-366-4720, Council Member, Karen Williams: email@example.com, Council Member, Maudie McCord: firstname.lastname@example.org, Council Member, Linda Lord: email@example.com
And here is the email that I sent. You are more than welcome to copy and paste. Just remember to personalize it with your own info at the end (I even contacted Governor Nathan Deal):
Subject: This will be forwarded to the Governor...
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2011, 3:49 PM
Dear Forest Park Mayoral Council,
I (as well as many others across the US) have become aware that there has been a ban placed on public breastfeeding in your city if the breastfeeding children are 2 years and older. Maybe your city is not aware that this violates Georgia's own breastfeeding legislation which allows babies and children the right to breastfeed in any location that mother and children are otherwise allowed to be with no age limitations. [See here: Ga. Code § 31-1-9 (1999) states that the breastfeeding of a baby is an important and basic act of nurture which should be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health and allows a mother to breastfeed her baby in any location where the mother and baby are otherwise authorized to be. (1999 SB 29, Act 304; 2002 SB 221) ]
I feel that Governor Deal must be made aware that one of Georgia's cities is implementing a ban on something that is supported by state law. Unless you, as city council members are going to ban all women with children under two years of age from being in public, according to Georgia Law, the city has no right to implement this type of ban.
This goes further than just violating protection under Georgia Law, it also risks baby/children and maternal health. Georgia already has some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in all of the United States and limiting breastfeeding, at any age, makes it appear that breastfeeding is not supported by the local government. (See the CDC's Breastfeeding Report Card for Georgia here: http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/data/re...) That means that the great state of Georgia can not risk losing breastfeeding rates due to lack of local and state support. A study (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/breastfeedi...) released last year showed that the US could save over $13 billion per year if more women were breastfeeding for longer and many children could be saved. Therefore, even the local government would benefit from increased breastfeeding rates.
Not only does it interfere with State Legislation and harm the economy to set limits on breastfeeding, but it is ridiculous to assume that breastfeeding has anything to do with indecency or public nudity as City Manager, John Parker, claimed (http://www.wsbtv.com/news/27920007/detai...). Most women accomplish breastfeeding without her nipple or much of her breast exposed. But again, back to State Law, there is no specification that a woman must be discreet to accomplish breastfeeding. What is also more ignorant about Mr. Parker's statements is his claim that this new ban is to control nudity in your fine city. With Georgia's breastfeeding rates so low, I don't see how the city's huge nudity problem can be coming from the small percentage of breastfeeding women you have residing within your city limits. Not to mention, that to claim that breastfeeding only becomes an issue of nudity once the breastfed child reaches the magical number of two years is questioning. What is so special about a child aged 23 months, 3 weeks, and 6 days and not a child that is 24 months when it comes to breastfeeding and public indecency?
Also, you know, as well as I, that if this is implemented, it will set a precedent. If we can ban public breastfeeding at 2 years old, why not 1 year, or even 6 months? Or 6 weeks? Right? Then, your city's baby and maternal health will be even more at risk! This new ban is not in the interest of your city, if you ask me, and especially not in the interest of women and children. Therefore, I would anticipate a lawsuit on the basis of violation of state statute and violation of gender rights since this would only apply to women (and their babies).
On 6 June 2011, when your city meets again to discuss this further, I would hope that you would make the correct decision for the breastfeeding pairs who live within your city limits and those who would like to add to your local economy by visiting.
I will now forward this on to Governor Deal in hopes that if this is not handled within city councils, it will be within the state level.
Thank you in advance for your time and attention,