Nursing advocate: Shelter could require cover during breastfeeding

Published On: Jul 03 2014 11:14:53 AM HST
Updated On: Jul 03 2014 11:21:42 AM HST
Breastfeeding mother

A breastfeeding mother

HONOLULU -

A national breastfeeding advocacy organization says a Honolulu homeless shelter is legally allowed to require a resident to nurse while covered or in a private room.

Best for Babes Foundation's director of activism Michelle Hickman says Hawaii's public accommodation law doesn't apply to the Institute for Human Services' shelter.  Hickman says the shelter is considered a residential area, likening it to the government not being able to tell people what to do in their own homes.

Karen Penley contacted the media after shelter employees told her she couldn't nurse out in the open.  She says they violated her rights to breastfeed in a way that's comfortable for her and her baby.

Executive Director Connie Mitchell said Thursday she's relieved to know the shelter's rights but will respect Penley's breastfeeding.

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