The inestimable Wendy McElroy comments on public breastfeeding (and just two weeks after me!) and writes quite sensibly:

The case for breastfeeding on public property is stronger than on private property. Public venues are not governed by clear ownership rules. Thus, the argument that breastfeeding is natural and healthy may sway whatever process determines that property's use. ...

By contrast, private property has clear ownership rules; the owner should determine what is acceptable behavior by customers or visitors. That's why there are "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service" signs. Control of access comes with ownership and it applies no less to a business than it does to a home. ...

Private property has been under attack for decades by those who claim that owner who "inappropriately" denies access to his property is violating civil rights. For example, an owner who refuses to serve women customers is said to violate their "right" to non-discrimination.

But no valid civil right entitles anyone to benefit from another person's possessions, from another person's time and labor. No one has a civil right to access someone else's property without the owner's consent. To demand such a "right" is an uncivil act that strips away one of the main protections of a peaceful society: namely, the line dividing what is mine from what is yours.

And anyway, why does anyone need to get all huffy about it?
Breastfeeding is natural and our society undoubtedly overreacts to naked breasts. But the winner-take-all approach of extreme advocates only acts to polarize society on a problem for which reasonable solutions can evolve. When done with some discretion, public breastfeeding is becoming socially acceptable with many businesses accommodating the shift.

Breastfeeding need not devolve into cultural warfare. The issue will yield to courtesy, common sense and a bit of respect for the other person's rights.

Just remember that you heard it here first....

Mrs. Noggle has a great no breastfeeding here logo.

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» Not for public consumption? from Julie Leung: Seedlings & Sprouts

Michael Williams has been running a short series on breastfeeding in public; his first post was published while we were on vacation. Many comments were made on the first post so I will offer only three brief ones here. As... Read More



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