ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Missouri mothers who want to breast-feed may soon be able to do so in public without fear of legal repercussions.
Currently, Missouri law states that “a mother may, with as much discretion as possible, breast-feed her child in any public or private location where the mother is otherwise authorized to be.”
But Senator Rob Schaff (R-St. Joseph) says he wants to take that language out of law, so women can feel free to nurse wherever they like. “There are a lot of benefits that come from nursing and it would save the state money and it would be good for the environment.”
Schaff says babies who are breast-fed are healthier so he wants to encourage mothers to breast-feed.
Also included in the bill is a provision which would make breast-feeding mothers exempt from jury duty. “It should just be up to the judge but there have been cases of judges not letting nursing moms out of jury duty so, in my bill, I just said you would have a note from your doctor.”
Schaff says he tried to pass a similar provision a few years ago but lawmakers complained that there wouldn’t be enough people to serve on juries if nursing moms were exempt. He adds that he has heard of no such opposition this time around.
The Centers for Disease Control says 43.1 percent of mothers in Missouri and 47.2 percent of mothers nationwide breast-feed at six months.