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LAWTON, Okla. – An Oklahoma woman says she was kicked out of a mall for breastfeeding.
Jacquelyn Daugherty told KSWO that back in November, she was at Central Mall in Lawton with her 9-month-old son when he got hungry.
She said she found the nearest table, sat down, and started breastfeeding her son.
Soon, she said she was approached by a security officer.
“He told me that it was indecent exposure and that I needed to go to my car or the restroom,” Daugherty said. “I handed him my Oklahoma breastfeeding law card and he said it doesn’t matter because I’m on the mall’s property and I need to leave. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it at the time, I just decided to pack up and leave and go home and nurse him.”
The woman told KSWO that she feels her rights were infringed upon.
Michaelene Young with the La Leche League said she agrees with Daugherty.
“Any Oklahoma mother may breastfeed anywhere she is allowed to be,” Young said. “If she is allowed to be at the library, if she is allowed to be at the mall, she may absolutely breastfeed her baby there. Anyone who is to try to stop her or remove her in a sense would be in violation of the laws protecting her and her baby.”
Daugherty said the same thing has happened to other moms.
“There are a lot of moms in America today that are constantly being put down just for nursing their children,” Daugherty said. “It shouldn’t matter how you take care of your baby as long as you take care of them. It shouldn’t be a thing where people just stare and criticize and say bad things because all you’re doing is being a mom.”
“We’re going to meet up and we’re all going to nurse our babies together so none of us feel like we’re being singled out,” Dougherty said. “We’re all together, we’re all going to be confident in this. We’re going to let it be known we’re OK with this and it’s OK to do this and we legally can.”
Lawton Central Mall released the following statement to KSWO regarding the woman’s claims:
“At Central Mall Lawton, we are committed to providing our customers and employees with an enjoyable shopping environment. As part of this commitment, we provide many offerings designed for families including family bathrooms, nursing areas, and play areas. We also have a private nursing area in our ladies’ restroom. As a family-friendly destination, we do allow women to breastfeed in the center.”