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Breastfeeding and the Law: Know Your Rights

State laws range from merely protecting a mother from indecent exposure charges, to giving her the power to take legal action against discrimination. According to the NCSL, 41 states have specific laws that allow a mother to breastfeed in any public or private location, and 27 states exempt a breastfeeding mother from public indecency laws. However, only a handful of states, like Massachusetts, allow women to enforce this right if it has been violated. Most enforcement laws include violator fines, and the right to recover attorney fees and other costs incurred during a lawsuit. To help further this cause, the AAP is supplying educational tools to hospitals and businesses about the importance of supporting breastfeeding mothers.

For more information on breastfeeding laws in your state visit LLLI. The NCSL also offers a comprehensive list of up-to-date laws in each U.S. state, as well as the laws in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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