Partners of the Plan News:

Breastfeeding Civil Rights

Seattle’s City Council added strength to existing Washington State protections for mothers by passing an ordinance making it illegal to deny a mother’s right to breastfeed in public places. Business owners, their employees, and other consumers may not interfere with a woman who is feeding her child by asking her to cover up, stop feeding or move to another place.

Rachel Schwartz of the Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington says, “We commend the Seattle City Council for their commitment to reducing breastfeeding discrimination. Local education and enforcement of this law through the Seattle Office of Civil Rights will ensure that mothers in Seattle are able to feed and nurture their children in peace when out in public.”

The new ordinance adds to protections already in place throughout the state. In 2009, Governor Gregoire signed a law protecting breastfeeding mothers under anti-discrimination laws. Prior to that, legislators changed the state code in 2001 to assert that breastfeeding in public was not considered indecent exposure.

Other Washington communities have passed resolutions to support breastfeeding. In 2006 the City of Moses Lake adopted a resolution to encourage the community to support mothers’ rights to breastfeed anywhere.


Plan Objectives Addressed

Target Audience

Breastfeeding mothers



For More Information:
  • Rachel Schwartz, Manager, Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington, 206-281-8032