New Hampshire lawmakers spar over public breastfeeding

Posted at 3:45 PM, Jan 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-01 15:45:28-05

A New Hampshire state House debate about public breastfeeding is getting ugly, following a legislative proposal that would make it a misdemeanor to expose nipples while in public.

State Rep. Amanda Bouldin, a Democrat, isn’t happy about the idea and expressed her opposition on Facebook. Bouldin called for the bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Josh Moore, to kill it or at least exempt new mothers who are breastfeeding.

“The very least you could do,” Bouldin wrote, “is protect a mother’s right to FEED her child.”

The bill does exempt breastfeeding mothers, she later acknowledged to CNN, but she didn’t know at the time of the Facebook post.

The post prompted a comment from Rep. Moore — later deleted — in which he wrote, “If it’s a woman’s natural inclination to pull her nipple out in public and you support that, than you should have no problem with a mans inclantion [sic] to stare at it and grab it. After all… It’s ALL relative and natural, right?”

Another colleague, State Rep. Al Baldasaro, Republican, also commented the post: “No disrespect, but your nipple would be the last one I would want to see … You want to turn our family beach’s into a pervert show.”

Bouldin said she wasn’t shocked by her colleagues’ comments because she often posts to Facebook to start a discussion about bills she doesn’t approve of.

Bouldin said she still doesn’t support the bill, even with the breastfeeding exemption. The representatives pushing the measure are “chasing an imaginary threat,” she said. Public nudity just isn’t a pressing public policy matter in New Hampshire, she said.

“I never offered to show anyone my nipples, so I’m not sure why (Baldasaro) said that,” she told CNN. “What is worse is that I have no desire to be nude in public … I’m not trying to villainize anyone.”

CNN has reached out to Moore and Baldasaro for comment, but they have not yet responded.