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Summer 2004-03 Breastfeeding must be allowed in all public and private places

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Number 56
Summer 2004

Breastfeeding must be allowed in all public and private places

Mothers may breastfeed their children anywhere, according to Act Number 95 of April 23, 2004.

This law institutes an absolute right for women to breastfeed their sons and daughters in any public place, any private place frequented by the public, and any recreational establishment.

Act 95 disallows the designation of specific spots for the activity. In more general terms, it prohibits

"any direct or indirect act of exclusion, distinction, restriction, segregation, limitation, denial, or any other differentiating act or practice, including denying a person the full enjoyment of goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages and shelter in any public place or any private place where people congregate, is frequented by the public, or serves as recreation."

Indecent exposure

With respect to the exhibition of the nursing mother's anatomy, Act 95 makes clear that public breast-feeding may not be construed as an indecent exposure or other obscene act.

Penalties

The law presents both criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for breaching its terms.

The criminal penalty is a fine from $500 to $1,000.

The civil cause of action is to compensate for the damages that a person may suffer in the event that anyone interferes with her breast-feeding rights as provided in this law.

‡‡ Note:

Act 95 contains a very detailed description of how summons for breaching its terms are to be served. It also provides that "for all legal purposes, a public order officer who intervenes, in so acting shall be considered to be a judicial agent."


© 2004 Goldman Antonetti
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