An Australian judge has imposed a ban which prevents a woman from breastfeeding her infant son for a reason that has many advocates for breastfeeding up in arms. The reason: She recently got a tattoo.
In his ruling, Judge?Matthew Myers wrote that when the woman received a tattoo in May, she:
?Exposed her 11-month-old baby to an unacceptable risk of harm.”
The mother has been tested for both hepatitis and HIV, and was negative for them, but the judge ruled that the tests were inconclusive.
Let’s all say this together so hopefully Judge Myers can hear us all the way from the United States: WTF?!
The case was brought to court as part of a messy custody battle between the mother of the infant and the baby’s father.
Rebecca Naylor,?chief executive officer of the Australian Breastfeeding Association, said she thinks the judge’s ruling is wrong, and she added:
“Tattooing is a regulated industry, so if you go to a tattoo parlor that is reputable then the chances [of contracting an infection] are very low. I think unless there’s evidence that she has contracted an infection as a result of that tattoo, then it is unreasonable?We would absolutely encourage women who have had tattoos to breastfeed their babies for as long as they choose to.”
Jake Marcus, a Philadelphia-based attorney who specializes in law relating to motherhood, agreed wholeheartedly with Ms. Naylor:
?My fear in this, as with all other cases in which breastfeeding is court-limited, is the?very dangerous precedent of examining every detail of a breastfeeding person’s life in a way that impinges on her rights. What is next? Will breastfeeding people be monitored for unprotected sex, which has a far greater risk of passing blood-borne pathogens than a non-prison, non-street tattoo? I can’t help but wonder whether this is a case of a clever attorney for the father having the luck of an ignorant and socially-biased judge.?
An appeals court in Sydney is scheduled to hear the case sometime today and decide if the ruling by Judge Myers will stand.