West Virginia

Public Breastfeeding

§16-1-19. Child’s right to nurse; location where permitted;
right protected.

(a) The Legislature finds that breast feeding is an important, basic act of nurturing that is protected in the interests of maternal and child health.
(b) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, a mother may breast feed a child in any location open to the public.

§61-8-9. Indecent exposure.
(a) A person is guilty of indecent exposure when such person intentionally exposes his or her sex organs or anus or the sex organs or anus of another person, or intentionally causes such exposure by another or engages in any overt act of sexual gratification, and does so under circumstances in which the person knows that the conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm: Provided, That it is not considered indecent exposure for a mother to breast feed a child in any location, public or private. [Note: To my knowledge no one in the US has ever been arrested for, or charged with, indecent exposure for breastfeeding in public.]

Enforcement Provision


Workplace Pumping


Enforcement Provision


17 Responses to “West Virginia”

  1. […] PluginWest Virginia has the honor of being one of only two U.S. states (W.V. and Idaho) that has no public breastfeeding law whatsoever. Since the vast majority of states have unenforceable public breastfeeding laws, I don't consider […]

  2. Heather says:

    I live in WV. Does this mean I can breastfeeding anywhere? Or if someone tells me to leave I have to?

  3. admin says:

    This means you have NO legal protection. If you are asked to leave by the owner, you can be arrested for trespass if you refuse.

  4. It is not illegal to breastfeed in WV, but you unfortunately can be asked to leave an establishment. Passed in March 2008, WV does have protection from being arrested for public indecency when breastfeeding in public. We continue to strive for passage of A Child’s Right to Nurse, which would allow breastfeeding in any place, public or private, where the mother-baby days is otherwise authorized to be. For more information, or to get involved, please visit, the West Virginia Breastfeeding Alliance’s website or Facebook page.

    • admin says:

      I recall the introduction of such a bill but I can find no record of it having passed. Please post a link if you can. My research still shows WV with no breastfeeding law.

  5. Heather says:

    Thank you so much!

  6. Heather says:

    The website http://wvgazette.com/News/politics/201202170210 from a newspaper says it passed in February. Is this true?

    • admin says:

      This article refers to the two bills that did *not* pass. There were, at the time of the article, under consideration.

  7. Jaiden says:

    I’ve joined a group for breastfeeding and I noticed that here in WV there are no laws yet to protect us other than the federal law. Not really sure how that works. As I started digging because I wanted to draft a bill and some of the people in the group was going to help me out and support it and try to see if we got enough number of people supporting it it would pass. As in doing so I found out of the legislation page that there is a bill pending SB 4 Declaring the right for a child to nurse. It looks like an amendment to a current bill 16-1-19. Is there anything that can be done if the bill is pending? There hasn’t been any action taken since 3/20/2012 where it got sent to the House Judiciary.

    • admin says:

      Depending on the legislative schedule of the WV legislature, the bill may very well have died in the committee when the year ended. Best bet is to contact the sponsor of the bill and see what his or her office can tell you about the status of the bill.

  8. Jaiden says:

    I will do that.

  9. Susan says:

    Here is WV’s public indecency law; under (a) it states, in part, “Provided, that it is not considered indecent exposure for a mother to breast feed a child in any location, public or private.”

    • admin says:

      Since no breastfeeding woman in the US has ever been arrested for, or charged with, indecent exposure, I tend to blow by these. But I will add it to the page.

  10. Ashley says:

    Where can i find out more about thia bill? And who is the orginial person to try a.d get ir passed, i would like to help with thia to make sure it gets passed, bo one buisness owner or otherwise should be allowed to tell a mother she can not feed her child on their premises!

  11. Chrissy says:

    Here is the info on the bill.

    Senate Bill No. 82
    (By Senators Foster, Stollings, Beach, Klempa and Plymale)
    [Originating in the Committee on Health and Human Resources;
    reported February 22, 2011.]