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Breastfeeding Protections Added to Washington State Anti-Discrimination Statutes

A breastfeeding civil rights bill (HB 1596) enacted in the 2009 state legislative session protects a woman’s right to breastfeed in public places such as parks, theaters, malls, and hospitals. The bill amended the state’s anti-discrimination statutes (RCW 49.60.030 and 2007 c 187 s 3) to include the following civil right: “(g) the right of a mother to breastfeed her child in any place of public resort, accommodation, assemblage, or amusement.”  Complaints will be investigated by the Washington Human Rights Commission.

Previous legislation signed into law in 2001 (HB 1590) exempted breastfeeding from public indecency criminal prosecution and encouraged employers to support breastfeeding employees by developing a lactation policy. The new law does not provide any rights in relation to pumping or nursing at work.




Target Audience

Mothers, infants and toddlers