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Attempt to improve breastfeeders' rights

Wednesday 01 Aug 2007 12:00a.m.

Attempt to improve breastfeeders' rights
A Labour MP is trying to legislate to improve the rights of women to breastfeed in public.
 
The private member's bill from Steve Chadwick will go into the ballot of members' bills waiting to be introduced into parliament.
 
If it ever becomes law, it would give women a right many think they have already.
 
It will give these women the right to breastfeed in public.
 
“I think that it may be unnecessary, I think that society is already accepting breastfeeding,” Chaucy Ellis told 3 News.
 
Catherine Milnes-King agrees “I find that the public at large are very accommodating for breastfeeding mothers.”
 
Labour MP Steve Chadwick has drawn up legislation which will make it illegal to ask someone not to breastfeed.
 
She drafted the legislation after receiving a number of complaints from women who feel they were discriminated against.
 
“Women were asked to move out of cafes when they were just feeding their baby, out of restaurants and out of one of our museums unfortunately,” she says.
 
But the restaurant association thinks the legislation is a waste of time and effort.
 
“There's much more important legislation they should be concentrating on, instead of doing something like this,” Mike Egan told 3 News.
 
He is surprised it is even been raised as an issue.
 
“Women are very discreet, they're not doing it to flaunt anything, I think 99 percent of customers don't even notice they're doing it so I don't know what all the hoo-hah is about,” he says.
 
But Chadwick believes the legislation will clear up any misunderstanding and encourage breastfeeding.
 
“If we can encourage women to feed, at home, at work and in the community then we're going to be a much healthier society for it.
 
The bill will now sit in the ballot box if it is not drawn by this time next year Chadwick says she will lobby to make it a government bill.
 
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