Mothers Protest Woman’s Removal from Flight for Breast-Feeding

Mothers, fathers, and children gathered at 30 airports around the country yesterday to protest Delta Airlines’ removal of a mother from a flight last month for breast-feeding prior to take-off. Emily Gillette was flying from Burlington, Vermont to New York when a flight attendant asked her and her family to disembark from the plane after Gillette refused to cover the baby’s head while breast-feeding. Gillette was sitting in a window seat with her husband on the aisle to afford some privacy. According to Gillette’s lawyer, the flight attendant told Gillette, “You need to cover up. You are offending me,” the Washington Post reports.

Protesters staged a “nurse-in” yesterday at airports across the country by gathering in airport terminals and openly breast-feeding. Some carried signs with slogans such as “Best in-flight meal ever,” “Don’t be lactose intolerant,” and “Breasts ‘ not just for selling cars anymore,” the Associated Press reports. The activists were trying to “show people that breast-feeding is completely normal,” according to one mother quoted in the Washington Post, as well as highlight the importance of mother-friendly airline policies and federal legislation supportive of nursing mothers, such as the legal right to breast-feed in public.

Said one protester about the demonstration: “It’s about raising consciousness about our culture’s sexualization of the breast. Breast-feeding needs to be supported wherever and whenever it happens,” reported the Associated Press. Currently, all but twelve states have laws protecting a woman’s right to breast-feed in public, according to the Los Angeles Times.
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Associated Press 11/22/06; Los Angeles Times 11/22/06; Washington Post 11/22/06

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