In One Place, But Not Another: When the Law Encourages Breastfeeding in Public While Simultaneously Discouraging It at Work
36 Pages Posted: 18 May 2014
Date Written: 2001
In this Essay, the author takes a novel approach to the topic of breastfeeding and work by exploring the trend among states to exempt breastfeeding from criminal indecent exposure laws and comparing this trend to the support, or lack thereof, in laws and policy for breastfeeding at work. The author's comparison reveals that while there is a trend to support breastfeeding in public, there is no such trend in the law to support breastfeeding in the relatively more private work environment.
The author argues that this disparity is both counterintuitive and serves to limit women's choices regarding breastfeeding and work. The author also provides an analysis of the law, arguing that the government action with respect to breastfeeding advances a particular public policy that limits women's choices with respect to breastfeeding at work and that furthers the already recognized divide between work and family. The author concludes with suggestions for how the government can and should use the already extant authority it holds to intervene in private employment with respect to breastfeeding and work and family policies to support workplace breastfeeding and to break down the divide between work and family.
Keywords: breastfeeding, work, indecent exposure, women and the law, work-family
JEL Classification: K10, K14, K30, K39, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation