Senate Bill No. 82

(By Senators Foster, Stollings, Beach, Klempa and Plymale)


[Originating in the Committee on Health and Human Resources;

reported February 22, 2011.]



A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §16-43-1 and §16-43-2, all relating to findings and purposes; and child’s right to nurse, location permitted and protected right.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §16-43-1 and §16-43-2, all to read as follows:


§16-43-1. Findings and purposes.

    (a) The Legislature finds that:

    (1)The encouragement of a public acceptance of breast feeding is consistent with the promotion of family values between a mother and her child and no mother should be made to feel incriminated or socially ostracized for breast feeding her child.

    (2) Breast feeding a baby constitutes a basic act of nurturing to which every mother and child has a right and which should be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health.

    (3) Breast feeding provides significant health benefits to both the mother and child.

    (4) Social constraints of modern society weigh against the choice of breast feeding and often result in new mothers opting to choose formula feeding to avoid embarrassment, social ostracism, or criminal prosecution.

    (b) This part has the following purposes:

    (1) To increase the incidence and duration of breast feeding as a goal for optimal maternal and child health and nutrition;

    (2) To enable women who so choose to freely breast feed their children so that infants may be fed exclusively on breast milk for at least the first 6 months of life, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics;

    (3) To further enable women to breast feed while giving appropriate and adequate complementary foods to children for up to 2 years of age or beyond; and

    (4) To create an appropriate environment of awareness and support so that women can breast feed and thereby achieve an ideal child nutrition option.

§16-43-2. Child’s right to nurse; location where permitted; right     protected.

    (a) A woman has the right to breast feed her child or children in any location, public or private, where she has the right to be with her child, without respect to whether the woman's breast or any part of it is uncovered during or incidental to the breast feeding of her child.


    This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.