Mom Kicked Out Of Court For Trying To Breast-Feed Baby

| by Michael Howard
Lydia Godfrey with her sonLydia Godfrey with her son

A woman who asked to leave an Indiana courtroom after trying to breast-feed her baby is calling on all mothers to know and stand up for their rights.

Lydia Godfrey was waiting to go into the courtroom for a divorce case when she began breast-feeding her 3-month-old baby, according to WRTV. When she walked into the courtroom, the clerk allegedly told her that breast-feeding was prohibited.

Godfrey said she told him that, according to Indiana law, mothers can breast-feed their children in public, as long as their presence is legal.

The clerk then spoke to the judge about the matter, and Godfrey was reportedly told she could finish feeding her baby in the hallway, but could not do so inside the courtroom.

She said she complied with the request, but has advice for other mothers.

"I would say make sure you stand up for your rights and reach out to other people to get your story out there," she told WRTV. "Until people support breast-feeding, they'll continue to discriminate against it, which makes no sense because our great, great grandparents didn't have any other option."

The judge in the case said he had no comment, as he is not allowed to comment on cases. The clerk reportedly said that children are not usually allowed in the courtroom. Godfrey and her child were both summoned to the court for a DNA test, WRTV reports.

This is not the first time a woman has been kicked out of court for breast-feeding. In April, 25-year-old Stephanie Rhodus was rebuked by a North Carolina judge for breast-feeding her 8-month-old son, according to The Washington Post.

The verbal exchange was captured on an audio recording.

"Ma'am, you need to cover up," District Court Judge Peter Knight said. "For you not to realize that is absolutely ridiculous. Step outside, and cover up right now. Stand up and go, now."

Rhodus said she was rattled by the experience.

"He was so condescending and so aggressive, and I knew that by law I had the right to breast-feed my child there, and I wanted to declare that I had the right to do that there, but I was terrified," she told ABC News, according to The Washington Post.

Knight explained his decision to make the young mother cover up in an email to The Washington Post.

"We as a court routinely accommodate women who are nursing, including while they are waiting for a case to be called in the courtroom," he wrote. "However, when a case is called and a party is participating in a formal hearing before the court, all litigants are expected to respect the same rules of procedure, decorum and dress."

Sources: WRTV, The Washington Post / Photo credit: WRTV

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