What's the last place on Earth you would ever expect a mother to be thrown out of for breastfeeding her child?
If you answered "hospital" you can go ahead and cross that off your list of "Places Where Sanity About Women's Bodies Still Exists." According to Everything Lubbock, a woman was removed from the University Medical Center after people complained that she was breastfeeding her 4-month-old son while she waited for a pediatric appointment for the baby.
Erin Peña posted about the incident on the KCBD Facebook page on Tuesday:
I'm so furious and upset. I just got thrown out of my ObyGyn/Pediatrician's office for breastfeeding! The receptionist told me I couldn't breastfeed in the lobby and had to go to the bathroom or room in the back. I said I had the right to breastfeed anywhere. She said if I don't stop she will cancel my baby's appointment. His appointment was for his vaccines! I refused and she canceled it, so I went to find the doctor thinking she would be reasonable and she wasn't. She was condescending, kept calling me honey. I said, "No one in the lobby even cared." She rudely said, yeah they do they just don't say it to your face.
I said they were wrong and it was illegal what they were doing. She called security on me and I left with the officer. The guy asked what happened and when I told him, even he was like, What? That's what this was about???
I'm so disgusted. My doctor even lied saying I was walking around with my breast hanging out, even though she never saw what happened. I was just sitting there in a chair. It was sickening.
Even though it's against the law, I would respect a restaurant's wishes if it asked me to leave, but a pediatrics's office at UMC??????
According to some reports, other women were breastfeeding as well, but Peña was singled out because she wasn't covered. Peña's account doesn't address that, but the Texas law she refers makes no provision for requiring women to cover up while breastfeeding.
University Medical Center apologized on Facebook and said they were investigating the matter, then pulled their apology from Facebook and then issued a statement via their spokesperson:
According to the UMC Health System Facebook post, "UMC regretfully acknowledges this situation. We have contacted the patient this afternoon and apologized for what transpired. We will investigate fully as it is our intent to comply with all applicable laws."
After receiving numerous comments, UMC made the decision to take down the Facebook post.
UMC Spokesperson, Eric Finley, said that University Medical Center takes full responsibility and is working to make sure an incident like this does not occur in the future. Finley also said that UMC Health System supports breastfeeding as the best infant feeding option for moms and babies.
Finley said Peña wasn't asked to leave for breasfeeding, according to KCBD. "The patient eventually went back to complain to the doctor. She was then in a place where she was not allowed to be, so she wasn't asked to leave because she was breastfeeding," Finley said. (Peña's account disputes that.) "But still, had we acted more appropriately this never would have happened." Translation: "We're forced to admit we did something wrong (because we basically broke the law) but not before we try and blame the whole thing on the mother we threw out of our hospital." Cool.
This is as good a time as any for a refresher course on breastfeeding in public in the Lonestar State. Texas law is really clear about this issue. "A mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be."
A mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be. A mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be. A mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be.
A MOTHER IS ENTITLED TO BREASTFEED HER BABY IN ANY LOCATION IN WHICH THE MOTHER IS AUTHORIZED TO BE.
Got it now, prudish weirdos in Texas who think there's something wrong with women feeding their babies? Good. We're done here*.
In case you run a business/public park/hospital/etc. and you still feel like you may have some trouble with this, I've worked up this handy script to guide you and your staff members the next time you are confronted with an asshole who is "offended" or "upset" by a woman exercising her legal right to breastfeed:
Idiot: That woman is breastfeeding. I am offended and upset. Please make her stop or remove her from my precious sight.
You: I'm sorry but I cannot do that. This woman is not breaking any law and in fact the law clearly states "A mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be."
Idiot: But this makes me feel icky and uncomfortable because I only know how to see a woman's body as something shameful or dirty!
You: Great. Maybe you should be the one who has to move to a different room or leave.
There, that wasn't so hard, was it! I'm available for a seminar too, which I've titled "Dealing With Assholes, Idiots and Other Morons That Make Your Life a Living Hell."
*Until the next time some idiot complains about this and a clueless person in authority embarrasses a mom and breaks the law by forcing her to leave a public place because she's breastfeeding.
Image via KCBD.