Spokane woman says she was told to cover up while breastfeeding - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane woman says she was told to cover up while breastfeeding in public

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

One Spokane woman is upset after she says she was told to cover up or go to a different room while breastfeeding in public.

On Thursday, Sacha Allen was breastfeeding her 11-month-old Margaret while she was waiting for her audiology appointment at Columbia Hearing Center. She has a cochlear implant.

“One of their employees came up to me with a towel and said I needed to cover up,” Sacha says. “I was a bit shocked…I said no. I said it’s my legal right to breastfeed my baby.”

She says this was the first time this has ever happened to her while breastfeeding her children in public.

“I really felt powerless that there wasn't anything else I could do at that moment to correct this,” she says.

The Washington Breastfeeding Coalition says it’s not legal for someone to ask a breastfeeding mother to go to a different room or cover up. Here are the state laws:

  • Wash. Rev. Code § 9A.88.010 (2001) states that the act of breastfeeding or expressing breast milk is not indecent exposure. (HB 1590)
  • Wash. Rev. Code § 49.60.30(g) provides that it is the right of a mother to breastfeed her child in any place of public resort, accommodations, assemblage or amusement. (2009 Wash. Laws, Chap. 164, HB 1596)
  • Wash. Rev. Code § 49.60.215 states that it is an unfair practice for any person to discriminate against a mother breastfeeding her child in any place of public resort, accommodations, assemblage or amusement. (2009 Wash. Laws, Chap. 164, HB 1596)

Columbia Hearing Centers says that their policies do follow state and federal laws. They say they can’t speak specifically to this case, but they are making sure that all staff is trained up on the policies. They also encourage any patient that has a concern to contact them.

If you run into this kind of situation, you can always get in touch with the Spokane Breastfeeding Coalition: https://www.facebook.com/spokanebfcoalition/

You can also reach out to the Washington Human Rights Coalition: http://www.hum.wa.gov/discrimination-complaint?page_name=complaintProcess

Here's a guide to breastfeeding and the law in Washington state: http://www.hum.wa.gov/media/dynamic/files/358_breastfeeding%20guidance.pdf

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