A Virginia woman who thought it was perfectly acceptable to breastfeed her child uncovered in a church has vowed not to return to the church after its reaction.
The Northern Virginia mother was apparently embarrassed and felt that her rights were violated when she was allegedly asked to leave her seat when she was breastfeeding during a church service on Sunday, according to WTOP.
I was asked to leave my seat at church because I was breastfeeding without cover. https://t.co/HDcEBrOmQx
— Annie Peguero (@AnnePeguero) April 24, 2017
Annie Peguero claimed immediately after she began feeding her 1-year-old daughter in the sanctuary of Summit Church in Springfield, Virginia, she was approached by a woman who asked her to move to a private room.
“I was asked to leave my seat,” Peguero said in a video she posted on Facebook about the incident. “I’m like, ‘Is this seriously happening?”‘
The woman raised concerns to Peguero about how breast-feeding out in the open might make men and other churchgoers uncomfortable as well as pointing out that the service was being live-streamed online, opening the possibility that the breastfeeding mother would appear on the internet.
“I don’t care if someone sees me online breastfeeding,” Peguero said, adding that she does it “all the time.”
She also dismissed the impropriety of openly breastfeeding in a place of worship surrounded by strangers, turning the incident into one about women’s bodies and society, or something.
“Society has created this situation about breasts,” she said in the video. “Women should be breast-feeding their babies as they want to breast-feed their babies.”
Peguero was shocked that any of the church-goers, especially men, could be made uncomfortable by her actions, repeating that her “mind is blown” by the suggestion.
Apparently the nondenominational church has a general policy in place that does not allow mothers to breast-feed without wearing a cover, Peguero later discovered.
“I so love going to church there, but I’ll never set foot in that church again. And it makes me really sad,” she said.
Instead of accepting the policy, which the church should presumably have the right to set, and simply venting on Facebook, Peguero decided to turn it into a legal matter.
According to WTOP:
Peguero is now working with a lawyer and is trying to get the church to issue a statement about the matter and reverse its policy.
Under a law passed in 2015, women in Virginia are allowed to breast-feed anywhere they have a legal right to be. Religious institutions are not exempt. Before that legislation, state law only specified that breast-feeding was allowed on property that was owned, leased, or controlled by the commonwealth.
“I never leave to go anywhere to feed my baby,” Peguero said. “I just feel that it’s important to feed her wherever and whenever.”
Not surprisingly, the issue sparked heated debate on social media as Twitter users both defended and condemned Peguero’s actions.
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— Annie Peguero (@AnnePeguero) April 26, 2017
— Shundel (@Mochagold118) April 26, 2017
@ndtv Breast feeding is divine duty and normal activity for a mother; church should apologize for bad behavior.
— M RAM (@mangeram0154) April 27, 2017
— Dissertationist (@tripphudgins) April 27, 2017
@DailyMirror Why are women STILL being treated this way in this day and age?! isn’t the church meant to welcome everyone in?
— kate (@k_8_e_) April 27, 2017
@DailyMirror As for the irate mums I simply ask.. why should your selfish need to pamper your child’s whim be forced on me? Express before or stay in
— Tracie Corbett (@CorbettTracie) April 27, 2017
The breastfeeding mother actually contacted a lawyer to deal w/ her church. She’s got bigger issues than public breastfeeding @LarryOConnor.
— Azaelia Brambleburrن (@cchanldy) April 27, 2017
@NBCNewYork Yeah sorta not appropriate.
— Me (@PensYanks) April 28, 2017
this lady is in church breastfeeding … ?you can’t go to the bathroom
— ℐ (@j3rricka) April 23, 2017
— William Keane (@largebill68) April 27, 2017
@RedState It is very easy to cover up, these women are looking for attention and to cause trouble
— ᎷᎥᏟᏥᏋᏝᏋ ᏢᎥᎪ (@mcuozzo) April 28, 2017
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