Why Is An Enforcement Provision Important?

To fully understand how enforcement provisions work, please read the article on this website – particularly Lactation and the Law.

The short answer to the question is that if a law has no enforcement provision, there is nothing you can do if the law is broken. The vast majority of public breastfeeding laws in the United States have no enforcement provision. That means that while a state may have a law that says a mother has a right to breastfeed in public, if someone harasses her while she does it, there is probably no legal action she can take against the harasser. Depending on the circumstances of a particular incident, there may be a lawsuit a lawyer can bring but, by and large, women can not afford lawyers, few lawyers will take breastfeeding cases pro bono, and there are few viable legal claims. In short, a breastfeeding law without an enforcement provision is of little to no value to breastfeeding women.

11 Responses to “Why Is An Enforcement Provision Important?”

  1. So do any states have enforcement laws for nursing in public?

    • admin says:

      Have a look at these pages. The vast majority of public breastfeeding law in the US is currently unenforceable. :(

    • admin says:

      Have a look at New Jersey, Vermont, Wahington state, D.C. and Connecticut for some enforcement provisions.

  2. Thanks! Hawaii seems to have one too. Just had to get out of the Southeastern part of the US. :(

  3. […] the fact that we have a problem here. Being a mom is a tough job that deserves cheers not sneers. Stronger legislation is needed not only to promote or encourage breastfeeding but to protect that right through enforcement of […]

  4. […] at NursingFreedom.org. To learn more about enforcement provisions, read Lactation and the Law and Why Is an Enforcement Provision Important? at […]

  5. Natalie says:

    I am a flight attendant based out of Virginia. I’ve read the state laws that are in Virginia but wld still like some help. There is no sanitary place on the plane to pump nor is there anywhere to store milk for a reasonable amount of time for the duration of the flight. I am not even trying to be compensated at all, I would just like to be allowed the time off from work in order to breastfeed my baby for a year. Do I have a right to be given a special leave of absence for the time I’m breastfeeding my child up to a year minus the 3 months maternity leave. I called our HR dept and no one cld give me an answer I was comfortable with. Everyone was confused on the subject. One even said that airlines are excempt from this state and federal law.

    • admin says:

      What breastfeeding law governs airplanes while in the air is still undetermined. As a rule airlines are governed by federal law. However, the argument can be made that as to employees, airlines are governed by the law of the state in which the employee is based. Unfortunately, if you are based in Virginia, you have no protection.

  6. […] 45 states establish a mother’s right to breastfeed in public, “if,” as lawyer Jake Marcus points out, “a law has no enforcement provision, there is nothing you can do if the law is […]

  7. Kirstin says:

    I’m from Illinois and we are one of the 12 states that have enforcement. From studying some of the breastfeeding laws (I haven’t viewed all the states) but I can say we have some of the best breastfeeding laws.

  8. […] Marcus of Breastfeeding Law writes in Why Is An Enforcement Provision Important, “…If a law has no enforcement provision, there is nothing you can do if the law is […]