Seattle City Council votes to protect public breastfeeding


SEATTLE - Seattle mothers leading the fight to end harassment while breastfeeding won a victory Monday afternoon when the Seattle City Council unanimously voted to approve a measure that allows mothers to feed their babies anywhere in public.

The measure Monday adds a mother's right to breastfeed her child to other protected civil rights, such as race, color, disability, religion and other categories.

It's already illegal in Washington state to discriminate against public breastfeeding. Supporters say this law would allow Seattle's office of civil rights to better protect mothers against discrimination and to educate the public on the issue.

The ordinance would apply to areas open to the public, including doctor's offices, restaurants, libraries and theaters.

Before the vote, council member Bruce Harrell called the matter a public health issue. Studies show breast-fed babies do better than infants who aren't. 

Mayor Mike McGinn will sign the bill into law, his spokesman Aaron Pickus said Monday.