Earlier this week, we wrote about Natalie Hegedus, a young Michigan mother who claims she was “humiliated” after a judge called her out for breastfeeding in court. Women across the country were outraged that a judge would find this sort of behavior in his courtroom to be inappropriate.
As we noted previously, Michigan is is one of only five states that does not have a law that would allow nursing mothers to breastfeed anytime, anywhere. But some women in Michigan apparently don’t give a damn about the law (or lack thereof).
Later this month, an advocacy group called No Injustice Against Nursing in Public (NINJA NIPs, for short) will be staging a protest outside of the courthouse where Hegedus was shamed. What kind of a protest, you ask? A nurse-in….
Mackenzie Hatfield-Johnson, founder of NINJA NIPs, is organizing the nurse-in to advance women’s rights in Michigan. She states that women will be rallying for “the right for women to nurse their baby anywhere, anytime.” The nurse-in is currently scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Monday, November 28. The Kalamazoo Gazette has more details on the event:
Hatfield-Johnson estimates, at this point, that between 25 and 30 people will attend the two-hour protest and rally. She said it is likely that some in attendance will be mothers who will be nursing their child at the event.
“Nursing women aren’t protected enough,” Hatfield-Johnson said. “Breastfeeding a child is sustaining for a child … and there is no discrimination against a bottle-feeding woman and therefore there shouldn’t be discrimination against a breastfeeding woman.”
Alright, we get it: breastfeeding women think that they are entitled to nurse their children in public. But what most don’t get is why these women think that they can liken bottle-feeding to breastfeeding. Sure, biologically, boobs are there for more than just sexual purposes. Call them “nature’s bottle,” if you will. But “nature’s bottle” is still pretty damn sexy.
And even Michigan, having acknowledged the sexy factor, has a statute that exempts breastfeeding women from the state’s indecency laws. The abbreviation for Hatfield-Johnson’s advocacy group says it all. NINJA NIPs? Sorry, but no matter how discreetly you do it, you’re no ninja — you’re still showing a breast in public. And while that isn’t considered indecent in Michigan, people will continue to find it offensive.
You’d think that these women would understand that regardless of the manner in which it was said (for the record: extremely stupidly), a judge does have the right to keep his courtroom in order. From the ABA Journal:
“Judges do have wide discretion to, first of all, set the decorum rules for their courtroom and, also, to enforce them,” said Marcia McBrien, a spokeswoman for the state court administrator’s office. “That is because one of the judge’s core responsibilities is to maintain a fair and dignified administration of justice, so a judge has to exercise control of their courtroom.”
So are these women going to get any legislative traction out of this event? At this point, we don’t know. But what they likely will get is a bunch of people hanging around gawking, taking pictures, and giving them the stink eye. Sorry, ladies, but there’s no use crying over spilled breast milk.
N.I.N.J.A N.I.P.s Nurse In [Facebook]
Breastfeeding advocacy group NINJA NIPs to hold “nurse-in” to protest actions of Van Buren County judge who scolded nursing mother [Kalamazoo Gazette]
Courthouse ‘Nurse-In’ Planned in Support of Mom with Nursing Baby Called Out by Judge [ABA Journal]