While it's not what you would expect from a protest against breastfeeding discrimination, it's somehow not at all surprising, either.
An event last week sought to protest against something incredibly important: Breastfeeding discrimination, which is, sadly, a very real thing in today's world. We've seen countless stories about breastfeeding women who have been treated unfairly and it's about time someone did something in response to the overwhelming wave of backlash they face. Unfortunately, when a large group of people decided to do just that, some protestors found themselves as victims of the very thing they were attempting to stop.
The second annual Nationwide Nurse-In rally saw people all over the country fighting for the right to breastfeed in public, but when breastfeeding Iowa protestors gathered outside the statehouse in Des Moines, something shocking happened. When the moms were moved inside the government building due to cold temperatures and began to feed their babies, they were asked to cover up while doing so, according to the organizer of the rally, by a statehouse worker who expressed concern that tour groups walking past might catching a glimpse of the women.
"[We're] standing up for our right to breastfeed in public," Amber Schwickerath of Charles City told KCCI Des Moines. "Our babies need to eat. If we nursed only at home, we would never leave our house. I understand where she's coming from, but this is about normalizing it and doing it out in public so people can see."
The women allegedly refused to cover up—and they were well within their rights to do so. Iowa's law states: "a woman may breastfeed the woman's own child in any public place where the woman's presence is otherwise authorized."
The upside to all this? The breastfeeding women did receive an apology from the government following the incident: "The Iowa Department of Administrative Services apologizes for asking women who were breastfeeding in the Iowa Capitol to cover up during a special rally today. The department recognizes it is legal to breastfeed in public places and was in error in asking the women involved to cover up while breastfeeding."