Judge kicks breastfeeding mom out of court
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A judge kicked a mother out of court because she was breastfeeding her child.
The judge reportedly asked the mother to leave from the Victoria County Court in Melbourne, Australia today (9 March) after concerns that they would become a 'distraction' for the jury.
Judge Mark Gamble addressed the mother directly after noticing she was in the middle of a feed, whilst observing a matter in the county court.
"Madam, you will not be permitted to breastfeed a baby in court," he said, as per The Sydney Morning Herald.
He said: "It will be a distraction, and I'll have to ask you to leave."
The mother then subsequently exited the room with her child.
She later told the Herald Sun that she was 'deeply humiliated' by the experience.
Nisha Khot, an obstetrician, has since come forward to call out the judge's behaviour, the news outlet reports.
She said: "We’ve tried so hard to get past so many barriers for women who want to breastfeed and to have this happen in a court of law is just not acceptable at all."
"Babies have been breastfed in the parliament of this country and in other parliaments," Khot added, "I don’t think there is any public space in which breastfeeding a baby should be unacceptable."
The health professional also stated that breastfeeding has long-term implications for both mother and child and anything that stops that process could end up affecting their health.
"Babies don’t get fed on a schedule of breakfast, lunch and dinner like adults.
"They get fed when they’re hungry and so when a baby is hungry a mother should be able to feed her baby," she added.
Georgie Dent, chief executive of the advocacy group, The Parenthood, has also weighed in on the matter.
She explained: "It creates this impression of some sort of shame around feeding your baby," when referring to being asked to leave a location due to breastfeeding.
"If we police people for that we just increase the isolation that mothers experience and we create a situation where breastfeeding becomes that much more difficult," the chief executive noted.
While there are certain anti-discrimination laws in place to protect breastfeeding women in public spaces, the website for the Victoria Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission does not directly state whether such legislation applies within courts.
UNILAD has reached out to the Victoria County Court for comment.