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Breastfeeding mother asked to cover up at Leesville restaurant

Published: Jul. 10, 2015 at 6:41 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 8, 2015 at 6:41 PM CDT
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LEESVILLE, LA (KPLC) - A woman was asked to cover up at Leesville restaurant, and now some women in the area are planning a "nurse in" for August.

Owner of Crossfire Pizzaria Tammy Birchard told KPLC Friday that a woman was breastfeeding in her restaurant and was completely exposed. Birchard said because other customers were in the restaurant, she asked the mother to cover up.

"Her whole breast was out, nipple and all," said Birchard.

Birchard claimed her phone has been ringing off the hook with those defending Allie Raby, the mother who was asked to cover up while breastfeeding. The pizzeria's owner is also getting backlash on social media.

"They do not agree with it and if I wouldn't have asked the lady to leave, they would have been offended as well. So I'm kind of in a Catch-22," Birchard explained.

"Well, my response to that is we are her customers, too, and we just want to feel comfortable," said Raby.

The restaurant owner said she is all for breastfeeding, but said there is a time, place and a discreet way to do it.

"You don't see people walking around in Walmart with it wide open, or church, or anything like that," said Birchard.

"If you feel more comfortable using the cover then by all means use the cover, but for us, we are a lot more comfortable and discreet without one," said Raby.

To accommodate nursing moms, Birchard plans to devote a section of her restaurant to them

"There will be a rocking chair and changing table, and whatever suits them, whatever's more comfortable for them," said Birchard.

For those who Birchard claims are calling and harassing the restaurant, she says the Sheriff's Office is investigating.

"It's a criminal offense by harassing us, and it could be a civil suit," Birchard said.

Regarding the "Nurse In" scheduled for August 1, she says the business and the parking lot are private property.

The following is part of Louisiana Law, RS 51 §2247.1, regarding breastfeeding:

     B.  Right to breastfeed.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a mother may breastfeed her baby in any place of public accommodation, resort, or amusement.

     C.  "Discriminatory practice in connection with public accommodations" to include a discriminatory practice against a mother breastfeeding her baby.  Any direct or indirect act or practice of exclusion, distinction, restriction, segregation, limitation, refusal, denial, or any other act or practice of differentiation or preference in the treatment of a mother breastfeeding her baby shall be a "discriminatory practice in connection with public accommodations" for the purposes of this Chapter.

     D.  Breastfeeding; discriminatory practices prohibited.  It is a discriminatory practice in connection with public accommodations for a person to deny an individual the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of a place of public accommodation, resort, or amusement, as defined in this Chapter, on the grounds that the individual is a mother breastfeeding her baby.  This discriminatory practice in connection with public accommodations is prohibited.

     E.  Breastfeeding not a violation of law.  A mother breastfeeding her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, shall not be deemed to be in violation of R.S. 14:106 or of any other provision of law.

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