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California Governor Signs Bill Assuring Right to Breastfeed in Public

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From: C-upi@clari.net (UPI)
Subject: Gov. signs breastfeeding bill
Organization: Copyright 1997 by United Press International
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 1997 17:10:53 PDT
SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 14 (UPI)-- Newly signed state legislation affirms the right of California mothers to breastfeed their babies in public.

In Gov. Pete Wilson's words, the action is intended to remove ``barriers of embarrassment, harassment and charges of indecent exposure when a mother breastfeeds her child in public.''

Besides signing the bill today, Wilson also proclaimed August as ``Breastfeeding Awareness Month,'' to call attention to the role of a mother's milk in giving children optimum growth and protecting them from infections and allergies.

He cited Department of Health Services figures indicating that 74 percent of California women began breastfeeding after their child's birth, but that only 17 percent continue after nine weeks.

Assemblyman Antonio Villaraigosa, D-Los Angeles, said he introduced the bill on behalf of mothers who have been harassed in restaurants and other public places, even though the practice of breastfeeding isn't illegal.

The bill exempts the premises of a homeowner who objects to the practice.

It takes effect Jan. 1, 1998, in California, which is the 13th state to make such an affirmation.

From: C-reuters@clari.net (Reuters)
Subject: California law endorses public breastfeeding
Organization: Copyright 1997 by Reuters
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 1997 20:01:09 PDT
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuter) - Gov. Pete Wilson Monday signed into law a bill guaranteeing women's right to breastfeed their babies in public.

``By signing this bill, I am removing barriers of embarrassment, harassment and charges of indecent exposure when a mother breastfeeds her child in public,'' Wilson, a Republican, said in a statement.

Even though current state law does not prohibit a mother from breastfeeding in public, proponents of the measure, led by Assemblyman Antonio Villaraigosa, contended the bill was needed to combat the misperception that it was illegal.

Villaraigosa, a Democrat, said he introduced the bill in response to incidents in restaurants and other businesses where mothers have been asked not to breastfeed their children in public.

A few Republican lawmakers opposed the bill, saying it was unnecessary.

``Breastfeeding benefits society as a whole by promoting maternal and infant bonding and decreasing health care costs for infants,'' Wilson said. ``This legislation is needed, regrettably, to specifically clarify that breastfeeding is not something indecent, and in fact is in the best health interest of both mother and child.''

Along with signing the bill, Wilson designated August as ''Breastfeeding Awareness Month.''

This Web page is referenced from another page containing related information about Breastfeeding/Nursing/Infant Nutrition


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