Another day, another mom makes the news for getting booted from a place for breastfeeding. Really, people? How is this OK? What’s worse about this recent instance is that it happened in a courtroom—you know, where people are supposed to know the law.
North Carolina mom Stephanie Rhodus was at Henderson County Superior Court on Monday to testify in a custody battle with her mother, the legal guardian of her 8-year-old son.
Rhodus was nursing her 8-month-old, Archer, when North Carolina judge Peter Knight called her up to testify. So she walked up and continued to breastfeed her baby.
“Ma’am, you need to cover up. For you not to realize that is absolutely ridiculous,” Knight said, as confirmed in an official audio recording from the court obtained by a local ABC news affiliate. “Step outside, and cover up right now. Stand up, and go.”
Rhodus apologized, immediately unlatched Archer and covered herself up. The case lasted about 25 minutes and ended with the judge giving Rhodus’ mom a protective order that barred Rhodus from seeing her 8-year-old for the next six months.
She later said she was shocked by Knight’s reaction and feels that her breastfeeding affected the judge’s decision.
"He didn’t have anything to say about my baby crying the rest of the time I was in there, and he had nothing to say about my child being there. He didn’t mind my child being there; it was just that I was breastfeeding," she told the Asheville Citizen-Times.
Breastfeeding in private and public is legal in North Carolina, irrespective of whether or not the mom’s breast is covered.
“We as a court routinely accommodate women who are nursing, including while they are waiting for a case to be called in the courtroom," Knight told the Washington Post. "However, when a case is called and a party is participating in a formal hearing before the court, all litigants are expected to respect the same rules of procedure, decorum and dress. That was the case here. If breastfeeding accommodations were needed, those certainly would have been made.”
Uh … yeah. Not sure if “stand up and go” is a "breastfeeding accommodation."