Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Whole Foods Market Discriminates Against Breastfeeding

On June 17, 2011, my husband and I were harassed by a manager and several other employees of the Whole Foods Market in Trolley Square, Salt Lake City, Utah, simply because I was breastfeeding our son.  I was appalled at how I was treated, but I decided to give Whole Foods an opportunity to make the situation right before taking any public action.  I faxed and mailed a letter on June 22nd to their national and regional offices, as well as to the store in which the harassment occurred (a copy of the letter is below with employee names removed for privacy).  I asked for a response by July 11, 2011, but I did not receive any communication whatsoever (much less an apology) from anyone with Whole Foods.

During the confrontation, I was informed by a manager that Whole Foods has no policy supporting breastfeeding within its stores, which is disturbing given Whole Foods' consistent marketing of itself as being dedicated to healthy living.  I also subsequently discovered that although Utah law protects breastfeeding mothers from being criminally charged for obscenity or lewdness, Utah has no protections for nursing mothers from being discriminated against or even asked to leave private establishments simply because they are breastfeeding.  

This has to change.  We are dedicated to the implementation of a law in Utah protecting breastfeeding mothers and their babies, as well as to the implementation by Whole Foods of a policy (including training of its employees) supporting breastfeeding within its stores.  

We welcome your ideas and support.

We are currently in the process of planning a national nurse-in at Whole Foods locations around the country.  Please
Join our Facebook Page
and check back here for updates! 

Below is a copy of the letter I sent to Whole Foods, to which they have not responded:


Whole Foods Market, Inc.
550 Bowie Street
Austin, TX  78703-4644

June 22, 2011
On June 17, 2011, my family and I made a visit to Whole Foods Market at Trolley Square at 544 South 700 East in Salt Lake City, Utah.  As we were walking through the store, a Whole Foods employee, C______W______, approached me and asked if she might speak with me.  I was breastfeeding my child at the time, and she asked me if I “would not mind covering up” because she had "received some complaints and some people were offended by it.” It was highly inappropriate and deeply offensive of her to accost me in this way, and I told her so and asked to speak with her manager.  She informed me that she was the night supervisor and repeated that she was only asking because someone had complained to her. 

My husband then explained to her that it was my legal right to breastfeed our child.  Indeed, several Utah statutes clearly state that the breastfeeding of a child—whether or not the breast is covered—is not an indecent, obscene, or lewd act (e.g., Utah Code Ann. § 76-10- 1229.5).  However, your employee ignored my husband's statement and continued to maintain her claim that she was only looking out for the best interests of all customers which, apparently, did not include my family.  At this point, a security guard (apparently working at the store through Whole Foods' contract with Centurion) standing behind Ms. W_______, claimed, "More people are offended by it than not," and stated, "Look, we just don't want you doing it."  I asked him if he had any statistics on who was offended; he ignored my question.

From there, two other employees, L______ and C______ were called in by Ms. W______, to assist in the discussion.  They offered cursory apologies to me and suggested alternative locations within the store where I might choose to nurse, blatantly denying the stigma that they were imposing upon my family.  It is disheartening that, especially in a retail establishment that prides itself on encouraging and enabling healthy living, a child receiving nutrition and immune system protection as nature intended is considered somehow unsightly and a nursing mother is pressured to cover up or hide herself to avoid “offending” others.

In light of the recent Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, which describes the crucial importance of supporting nursing mothers within society (see pages 12, 18, and 19) and the serious, documented health problems caused by not breastfeeding, your staff's actions were all the more inappropriate.

This highly embarrassing situation could have been avoided entirely if your associate had only explained to the allegedly offended parties the obligations that she and Whole Foods Market are under in respecting my right to breastfeed my child.  During the discussion, I asked C______ what Whole Foods Market's policy was regarding breastfeeding within the store; her appalling response was to laugh at me and comment condescendingly, “I've never heard of a policy about breastfeeding!”  It is clear that your employees lacked the training they needed to effectively handle this situation.

My family was humiliated for more than 30 minutes while other patrons gawked and whispered, all due to the night manager's contradictory claim of trying to create “a family place for young children.”  Previously I have made bi-weekly visits to your establishment, happily purchasing most, if not all, of my family's meals, a practice I am now reconsidering after this disturbing experience.

In light of this, and in light of the fact that Whole Foods has stores in states that not only specifically exclude breastfeeding from obscenity laws but explicitly prohibit discrimination against breastfeeding mothers, I ask that you agree to implement a policy that clearly supports breastfeeding mothers within your establishment.  This policy should include training for all staff members on the importance and biological normalcy of breastfeeding.  Additionally, by displaying breastfeeding welcome signs throughout your store, you will further communicate to patrons that Whole Foods Market welcomes and supports breastfeeding mothers.

If Whole Foods Market is going to ethically maintain its commitment to healthy living, then it needs to support breastfeeding, not degrade those who are trying to do the best they can for their children.

Please let me hear from you by July 11, 2011, as to your plans regarding moving forward with instituting such a policy.

Angelina Love 

cc: Whole Foods Market, Inc.
1821 30th Street, Unit A
Boulder, CO  80301
Fax:  (303) 938-8963

Whole Foods Market, Inc.
544 South 700 East
Salt Lake City, UT  84102
Fax:  (801) 990-0037


  1. Um my local Whole Foods in Chandler, AZ host a freaking La Leche League monthly meeting and provide free snacks:) http://www.freewebs.com/lllofaz/tricitychapter.htm I think this is an isolated incident due to ignorant ppl not company policy. Something similar happened at a Trader Joe's in CA like a year ago. It sucks that it happened, but I'm betting they're apologize profusely.

  2. Yes I believe the people I encountered were uninformed. However I was speaking to two Whole Foods managers when I was informed that Whole Foods Market has no policy regarding breastfeeding within their stores and that is what i requested they institute in my letter. So that this doesn't happen to women in ANY of the Whole Foods Market locations. I sent this letter to my local store, the Regional and the World Headquarters and have received no reply. Not even an apology.

  3. Why wasnt this letter sent to the global headquarters in Austin? I think it's extremely important you do so. This is really, really appalling and I'm disgusted that you had to deal with this.

  4. I think the person you want is Roberta Lang, general counsel and global vp of legal affairs. That doesn't work try Margaret Wittenberg, global VP quality standards and public affairs. Will Paradise is president of the Rocky mountain region which I think you're in. Usually their name Roberta.lang@wholefoods.com is usually how their email works.
    Address would be :
    Whole Foods market, Inc.-world headquarters
    550 Bowie street
    Austin, tx 78703-4644

    National office number is 1-512-477-4455

    Good luck!!

  5. Thank you wendywonders. Actually, I sent the original letter to the world headquarters in Austin and sent copies to the Regional, and Salt Lake store.

  6. Aww good. Well from an insider there are specific people that need to be aware of this situation who probably aren't. Too many filters in place that have determined they aren't going to act on a serious situation.

  7. I have posted this to my FB and tagged my local Whole Foods (Whole Foods Market Charlottesville) asking if anyone can give a policy. I am so surprised and very sorry that you and your family were treated in such a degrading way. I'm glad to be aware of this.

  8. Thank You again wendywonders. I didn't receive your second comment until after I had posted my reply, but thank you for the names and email. I will resend. :)

  9. Utah law does protect us from discrimination in we are allowed to do it without repercussions as long as we have a legal right to be there. Let me know about a nurse in and I will bring LLL Utah County.

  10. Um did you try calling? That seems like a much more efficent method of communicating in this day and age.

  11. I am shocked and appalled that you were treated this way at a health food store! Kudos for standing up for you and your baby's rights and taking action!

    Not sure if you know about Latch On America/Milk for Thought, but there's a big pink bus coming to town this Friday filming a documentary with the goal to empower breastfeeding moms. Find out more about the event here http://www.milkforthought.com/tour and here http://breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com/today/

  12. Ha ha they didn't want one, now they will have tones. Please let us know when this is going to happen. would love to join the sit in.

  13. As an avid shopper at Whole Foods in Trolley, I don't think it was unreasonable at all for them to ask you to cover up. I would have done so at my place of work as well. It speaks to the company that their employees offered solutions to fix something that clearly made several patrons uncomfortable. It's not as if they were asking you to stop breastfeeding in the store, or that they have an "anti-breast feeding" stance. From how it's written above, they simply asked you to cover your breast. That is more than fair, considering they are a food establishment, and have a "no shirt, no shoes" policy. Frankly, I think it's a bit brash of you to ask a nationwide company to change it's policies to suit you and your comfort, but are offended that they were confronting you about something that was obviously making so many others uncomfortable.

  14. I guess the rights of business and property owners be damned. We don't need that nasty little Constitution anyway, right? There isn't any reason to boycott what a person does with their business. YOU are an adult, and can choose not to visit their establishment again. As for me and mine, we'll follow the Constitution, and all the rights guaranteed to business and private property owners.

    As a side note, would I have asked you to cover up? Nope, I don't see any reason to, however, the right of the business owner and manager needs to be upheld as well.

    I'm sure this will be censored and removed as you already support the suppression of what people do on their own property.

  15. Since when was breastfeeding against the constituion? Breastfeeding is legal, a breast in public used for nursing is NOT considered nudity, therefore they had no right to tell her she was not allowed to nurse where she wanted in the store. And it's clear something is up your butt since you can't help but insult her at the end of your rant. That doesn't prove your point but rather make you look ignorant.

  16. Tobetti - if I thought the way you ate was slovenly, could I ask you to cover up or eat somewhere else? If your cleavage makes me uncomfortable, would I still have the right to ask you to cover up? Breastfeeding is not indecency, its nutrition. The request for a change of breastfeeding policy is not to "suit her and her comfort", it is about upholding a child's right to eat and a mother's right to feed. And you would experience a nurse-in, letters from angry patrons, and a possible lawsuit if you asked someone to cover up in your business.

    Adam - The business and property owners can have whatever opinions they want, but federal law protects a woman's right to breastfeed her baby wherever she is otherwise legally allowed to be.

    Bottom line - a baby deserves to be able to eat wherever it needs and wants, and a mother has the right to feed her baby in any location.
    Don't like it? Don't want to see it? YOU stay home or put a blanket over YOUR head!

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. Sang, did I stutter? I am supporting the business and property rights of those involved. The Constitution guarantees that you can do on your property what you will. I never said breastfeeding was against the Constitution, but insisting a business accept breastfeeding violates the Constitution. They have the ultimate right to refuse service, and remove from the premises based on anything they want.

    Do I think it's hypocritical of this particular establishment to remove a breastfeeding mother? I do, but then I don't personally have a problem with it, but I support the right of the business to do what they will on their own property.

    What the blog owner, and others on here are proposing are removing property rights for this business owner. Forcing a business to comply with your own PERSONAL belief violates the Constitution. I'll side with Constitution 8 days a week, yup, that's 7 days a week, and twice on Sunday. Without the Constitution, we are dead in the water as a nation.

  19. Megg, you are absolutely wrong. Please cite the law that requires a business to permit breastfeeding. I'm wagering you're about to post the 1999 law that requires all FEDERAL agencies or those on FEDERAL property to permit breastfeeding. I eagerly await your misguided source. Please don't misquote the law, it irritates me.

  20. Utah Code Ann. § 17-15-25 (1995) states that city and county governing bodies may not inhibit a woman's right to breastfeed in public.

    Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-1229.5 (1995) states that a breastfeeding woman is not in violation of any obscene or indecent exposure laws. (HB 262)

    There are two laws in Utah, that pertain to breastfeeding. Neither of which makes it illegal for a business to remove an individual from their property. The laws in Utah simply make it so that you can't be cited for nudity or obscenity here.

  21. It is not the responsibility of a mother to worry about offending strangers by doing a natural thing. It IS however, a mother's responsibility to nurture her child. The NORMAL way for a young child to eat and be pacified is at the breast. Not the bottle, not the binkie (which no one would think twice about seeing), but at the BREAST. If you are offended by breastfeeding, there's a really simple solution. DON'T LOOK! It is your issue, not the mother's!

  22. Adam~ Please don't act like babies aren't citizens of the United States - it irritates me. This mother was shopping in a Whole Foods Market - a company who represents themselves in the community as a company who concerns itself with the health and wellness of its stakeholders (it's customers being it's most important stakeholders) and yet denies this baby the right to act in a biologically normal way and breastfeed while his mother shopped on the premises. Where are the ethics in that. To me, the constitution is the bare minimum of ethics for our companies. If they claim to care and act in a fashion that goes above and beyond the constitution, as Whole Food Market indeed does, than they better stand by their creed!

  23. There's no reason that she couldn't have put a blanket over her breast and solved the problem. Going slightly out of your way to help avoid conflict with others is part of being a decent person. I wear deodorant as a courtesy to others, even though it's my right to smell like a circus monkey. The store didn't tell her to stop, they asked her to cover up or move to a more private location. As a private business, that shows more tact, kindness, and consideration than she was showing the other patrons. Breastfeeding is good. Breastfeeding discreetly when in public is better, because it shows manners and tact.

  24. Adam, you seem to be contradicting yourself. And God forbid we irritate you.

    First, you say that the Constitution allows business and property owners the right to ask women to cover up. YOU happen to be wrong. It does no such thing. Perhaps if this were private property or such you might have half a leg to stand on, but this is a public place (although not necessarily public PROPERTY) we are talking about.

    Second, you have just cited laws that SPECIFICALLY allow that a woman is not indecent if she is breastfeeding, so if she is not indecent, why should she have to cover up? The law says she is not indecent, therefore the manager, etc. would have no cause of action. You have just made my point moot by proving it yourself.

    The specific law I read says that a mother may breastfeed her child anywhere that she is othrwise legally permitted to be; it did not specify "federal" locations only. Additionally, the Utah laws, or lack thereof, are part of what is causing this action in the first place. The author is asking that Whole Foods itself uphold what others already do... that a mother has the right to breastfeed her child whenever and wherever she needs. I don't see how it is any different than if she were to have taken out a bottle and fed the baby.

  25. Megg, the business OWNED that property. Any property that is OWNED by a business is considered PRIVATE PROPERTY.

    Public Property is defined as any property owned by the GOVERNMENT.

    Second, it's not LEGALLY considered indecent, if I, or a business in general find it offensive, then I, or a business have the LEGAL right to remove said person from the premises.

    Why do you think businesses put up the sign "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone" That is THEIR LEGAL right to do so.

    Megg, you are quoting the FEDERAL law, regarding FEDERAL PROPERTY.

    U.S. Public Law 106-58 Sec. 647 enacted in 1999, specifically provides that "a woman may breastfeed her child at any location in a Federal building or on Federal property, if the woman and her child are otherwise authorized to be present at the location."

    HR 2490) with a breastfeeding amendment was signed into law on September 29, 1999. It stipulated that no government funds may be used to enforce any prohibition on women breastfeeding their children in Federal buildings or on Federal property

    Breastfeeding is NOT A FEDERALLY guaranteed right to do on PRIVATE PROPERTY.

    The mother in question was not refused the right to feed her child, she was simply asked to cover up. The husband became belligerent and argumentative, and security was called. She could easily have walked the 20 paces to go outside the establishment to be outside the jurisdiction of the business itself to feed her child.

    Do I think what the business did was right? I do.

    Would I support this business by doing business with them? No, I wouldn't. I find it hypocritical that the business, a baby food business, would be offended when a baby was being nursed in their store.

    1) The business had the legal right guaranteed under the Constitution
    2) The business made a hypocritical decision to be offended by a nursing baby in a baby food store.
    3) I won't endorse or support the business, but I support their right to make any decision they want on their property.

  26. Komsomoletz - I'm curious, if a woman were in whole foods with her cleavage hanging out and it made someone in the store uncomfortable, would it be okay to ask her to cover up? Even if she was within her legal bounds to wear what she pleases and not be legally indecent? I don't want to see a woman's breasts hanging out of her tank top or her butt cheeks hanging out of a skirt or shorts, but I would never dare to say anything about it and ask her to change. And I highly doubt the manager of a store would do so at my request. So what makes it okay to do so at the expense of a baby needing to eat?

  27. Because a PRIVATE PROPERTY OWNER aka a BUSINESS OWNER has the right to dictate what they want to have happen on their property within the bounds of the Constitution, and of current law.

    Do you know why there aren't laws banning businesses from removing women who are breastfeeding? Because the Constitution guarantees property rights of individuals.

    I can't speak to how they would react if someone with cleavage was out and about, probably wouldn't do anything, they're hypocrites, but it is THEIR CHOICE to do what they want, or pass whatever policy they want on THEIR PROPERTY.

    Again, the CONSTITUTION must come first, in any argument, and it guarantees PROPERTY RIGHTS. The business in no way infringed on the child's right to eat. The mother could easily have gone outside to feed the baby.

    Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property has the right to consume, sell, rent, mortgage, transfer, exchange or destroy it, or to exclude others from doing these things.[1][2][3] Important widely recognized types of property include real property (the combination of land and any improvements to or on the land), personal property (physical possessions belonging to a person), private property (property owned by legal persons or business entities), public property (state owned or publicly owned and available possessions) and intellectual property (exclusive rights over artistic creations, inventions, etc.), although the latter is not always as widely recognized or enforced.[4] A title, or a right of ownership, establishes the relation between the property and other persons, assuring the owner the right to dispose of the property as the owner sees fit

    YES OR NO, could she have walked outside to feed her child?

  28. Adam, it makes me laugh how you failed to post this Utah law in your little tirade so you could continue with your ignorant rantings.

    Utah Code Ann. § 10-8-41 (Lexis 2008) provides that a woman’s breastfeeding, including breastfeeding in any place where the woman otherwise may rightfully be, does not under any circumstance constitute an obscene or lewd act, irrespective of whether or not the breast is
    covered during or incidental to feeding.

    You seem to be confused about the definition of "private property" and "public accommodation" while your theory would clearly pertain to a private residence or private club it does not apply to private property that is "public accommodation" When the Utah law states " including breastfeeding in any place where the woman otherwise may rightfully be" it isn't excluding private businesses that provide "public accommodation" like Whole Foods. Any woman would be covered under the Civil Rights Act in a court of law under these circumstances just as a handicapped women or minority woman may rightfully be at Whole Foods so may a breastfeeding woman may be at Whole Foods. The law clearly defines this means "irrespective of whether or not the breast is
    covered during or incidental to feeding." They legally can not ask her to leave or cover her breasts in this situation and should she so desire she may sue Whole Foods and she will most certainly win. I'm sure you already knew all this though or you would have posted that law as well. You're a silly man, lol!

  29. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breastfeeding_in_public

    United States
    Most US jurisdictions permit breastfeeding in public.[13][14] In the United States, for instance, a federal law enacted in 1999[15] specifically provides that "a woman may breastfeed her child at any location in a Federal building or on Federal property, if the woman and her child are otherwise authorized to be present at the location."
    However, these laws generally do not apply to rules imposed by private organisations or on private property, such as restaurants, airlines, shopping malls etc.

    10-8-41 is only applicable to city councils and cities. It doesn't apply to private organizations, businesses, or private property. Ask the original poster if it's true, and she'll verify it. Any good attorney will tell you the Supreme Court, has yet, to set aside property rights to accommodate breastfeeding.

    Please stop misquoting the law and twisting it to fit your view. Had you posted the full 10-8-41 law, it would be more than apparent the law refers to cities and the city council. It simply forbids them from filing charges regarding lewdness or obscenity, it doesn't prevent eviction from a property.

    10-8-41. Prostitution, lewd or perverted acts, gambling, and obscene or lewd publications.
    (1) Boards of commissioners and city councils of cities may suppress and prohibit the keeping of disorderly houses, houses of ill fame or assignation, or houses kept by, maintained for, or resorted to or used by, one or more persons for acts of perversion, lewdness, or prostitution within the limits of the city and within three miles of the outer boundaries thereof, and may prohibit resorting thereto for any of the purposes aforesaid; they may also make it unlawful for any person to commit or offer or agree to commit an act of sexual intercourse for hire, lewdness, or moral perversion within the city, or for any person to secure, induce, procure, offer, or transport to any place within the city any person for the purpose of committing an act of sexual intercourse for hire, lewdness, or moral perversion, or for any person to receive or direct or offer or agree to receive or direct any person into any place or building within the city for the purpose of committing an act of sexual intercourse for hire, lewdness, or moral perversion, or for any person to aid, abet, or participate in the commission of any of the foregoing; and they may also suppress and prohibit gambling houses and gambling, lotteries and all fraudulent devices and practices, and all kinds of gaming, playing at dice or cards, and other games of chance, and the sale, distribution, or exhibition of obscene or lewd publications, prints, pictures, or illustrations.
    (2) (a) A woman's breast feeding, including breast feeding in any place where the woman otherwise may rightfully be, does not under any circumstance constitute an obscene or lewd act, irrespective of whether or not the breast is covered during or incidental to feeding.
    (b) Boards of commissioners and city councils of cities may not prohibit a woman's breast feeding in any location where she otherwise may rightfully be, irrespective of whether the breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breast feeding.

  30. Utah Code Ann. § 17-15-25 (Lexis 2008) states that city and county governing bodies may not
    inhibit a woman’s right to breastfeed in public.

    Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-1229.5 (Lexis 2008) states that a breastfeeding woman is not in violation
    of any obscene or indecent exposure law.

    Utah Code Ann. § 76-9-702 (Lexis 2008) provides that a woman’s breastfeeding in any location
    where the woman otherwise may rightfully be, does not under any circumstance constitute a lewd
    or grossly lewd act, irrespective of whether or not the breast is covered during or incidental to

    Utah Code Ann. § 10-8-41 (Lexis 2008) provides that a woman’s breastfeeding, including
    breastfeeding in any place where the woman otherwise may rightfully be, does not under any
    circumstance constitute an obscene or lewd act, irrespective of whether or not the breast is
    covered during or incidental to feeding.

    Utah Code Ann. § 10-8-50 (Lexis 2008) provides that a woman’s breastfeeding, including
    breastfeeding in any location where she otherwise may rightfully be, does not under any
    circumstance constitute a lewd or indecent act, irrespective of whether or not the breast is covered
    during or incidental to feeding.

    Utah Code Ann. § 30-3-34 (Lexis 2008) provides that in determining child custody and visitation
    schedules, the best interests of the child. The lack of reasonable alternatives of a nursing child is a
    factor that the court can consider in determining whether the standard parenting (custody)
    schedule would apply.

    These are all of the laws regarding Utah, and breastfeeding. Not a single one prevents a business from removing a person from it's premises. It simply prevents the government form filing lewd and obscene charges against them. Please show me anywhere in any of these laws that it applies to private property or businesses.

  31. The Utah definition of Private Property, as defined by the courts here in Utah is as follows:

    "Private" with respect to real "Property" means not owned by the United States or any agency of the federal government, the state, a county, a municipality, a school district, a local district under Title 17B, Limited Purpose Local Government Entities - Local Districts, a special service district under Title 17D, Chapter 1, Special Service District Act, or any other political subdivision or governmental entity of the state.

    This clearly puts any business, non-government organization, and private individuals that own property, into the realm of PRIVATE PROPERTY OWNERS.

  32. If you'd like to do the research, please use Lexis or even google to look up the Supreme Court rulings regarding "Main Street Plaza" in SLC, and it's definitions of Private Property.

    Just to condense real fast for you, the Supreme Court held that the LDS Church could restrict behavior on it's property (No smoking, drinking, making out), even thought it is in the public view and the public has full access to it.

  33. To everyone who is saying "it's not that big a deal to cover up with a blanket...": My baby would be ripping that blanket off and causing more of a scene than if I just let him feed and be done.

    On of my favorite sayings is: "If breastfeeding offends you, put a blanket over YOUR head."

  34. Megg- the answer you your questions is "without hesitation". I manage a business and have, with regular frequency, told patrons that if they wanted to remain in our business, they would be required to dress appropriately. I have required women and men who refused to comply with our standards to leave. Would I ask someone in a park or other public place to cover their shame? No, in public places people can wear what they want within the bounds of the law. In a private business, owners/managers need to be able to require patrons to comply with the standards they feel are right for their business.

  35. Utah Code Ann. § 10-8-41 refers to government agencies and city councils, please don't misquote the law. Lactation is not something covered under the civil rights. The civil rights law says religion, creed, color, sex, and handicap. Breastfeeding is not covered underneath the civil rights law, as it is a function performed by the body, not the actual person themself. Again, I ask you to please stop trying to apply laws that do not apply.

  36. @Adam

    My husband did not become belligerent and argumentative. The security guard I referred to in my letter was standing nearby when the conversation began and approached on his own accord. What he said to me was "Look, we just don't want you doing it"

    The persons that took action against me within the store are not the owners of the property or business, which is why I contacted them directly.

    Also Whole Foods Market is not a baby food store it is a grocery store with an emphasis in organic and natural foods.

  37. Adam, it sure seems to me that you can only talk in circles. You seem to be missing the POINT. The point would be that Whole Foods should SUPPORT breastfeeding, not undermine it. That is the goal here. To educate a corporation, hopefully enlighten them to some patron-friendly breastfeeding issues, and to show them that support of breastfeeding would be to their benefit. You have turned this into an argument for which this issue was not intended. You also seem to be rather misinformed for someone who likes to tout himself as so well-informed.

  38. Megg, I'm very well informed, I've helped author legal papers defending Corporations and their private property.

    Had you read what I actually posted, instead of turning this into a personal attack as a child would, you would have seen that I don't much care for them that they behaved like this. I am defending their right to do so.

    Personal animosity doesn't help your cause, and point of fact, makes all who are behind you look infantile. Please try to keep it on the subject at hand, rather than resorting to childish name calling and personal attacks.

    To me, there is no other issue but the defending of the Constitution and the Freedoms guaranteed within. Sacrifice that document, and you have nothing.

  39. What an awful experience, I am so sorry this happened to you. With the power of the internet let's shame the hell out of them. Those Wholefoods employees are quite uneducated and r u d e! And to Adam, OK we get it, you dont support breastfeeding or mothers and babies. You're a JERK.

  40. Adam~ Sacrifice breastfeeding and we don't have civilization, period.

  41. Van Troi, Grow up, had you bothered to read my post, you would see that I was opposed to their actions, but I support their right to do so. Please grow up, and stop calling names. It's infantile and childish, and there is no reason for it.

    Please take a moment to read what I've posted, rather than just skimming the pages and drawing conclusions like an uneducated person.

    Unknown-cowardly act of posting anonymously, sorry to tell you this, but the world would survive without breastfeeding, there are literally hundreds of alternatives, none better than breastfeeding, and we'd be a sickly nation as breast milk contains millions of antibiotics, but the nation would survive.

  42. Adam, frankly, it does not matter how many legal papers you have written, you are still missing the point. Since all you can seem to take from my post is that I have attacked you (and there you are greivously mistaken), I will break it down for you. No one here is talking about Whole Foods' RIGHTS or the Constitution except you. Those of us who are breastfeeding mothers, and those who truly support the natural act of breastfeeding, are asking for Whole Foods as a corporation to take a stance and truly support breastfeeding in each and every one of their locations. There was no "childish name calling" or "personal attacks" on my part. Perhaps you are misconstruing my statement that you are mistaken and that you consider yourself well informed. I don't think I would call that name calling or a personal attack, or "infantile" for that matter. However, I do believe "infantile" would be categorized as name calling. Lets all be grown-ups here... you missed the POINT of the article from our perspective. Feel free to continue on with your Constitutional rationale, but it really has very little to do with what we are asking of Whole Foods. We are asking them to step up and do something one step beyond asserting their rights and following bare-minimums. I hope that clears up the point I was trying to make.

  43. Wow Adam, get a grip. She's not suggesting that Whole Foods be jailed for their behavior in this situation -- she's *suggesting* that they make a company wide policy on breastfeeding in their stores. They are clearly free to decline this suggestion and it appears they have done so at this point. She's also using the power of private citizens in attempt to influence this. She's not asking for legal action to be taken. She's not asking for the rights of business owners to be removed. She is requesting voluntary cooperation from said business.

    I'm a Libertarian and I see nothing wrong with the nursing mother's attempts here. Whole foods has disgusted me with their actions here. Private citizens, pulling together in an attempt to influence change at a private business is perfectly acceptable.

  44. Megg, calling me misinformed is a personal attack, calling your statement, infantile, is entirely different. I discussed what had been said, not who had said it. That is the proper way to have a discussion or debate. It is, indeed, childish to attack someone for their beliefs and/or opinions.

    Now, Megg and Slapithigh, the only reason that the Constitution was brought up was the flat out lies that Federal or State laws had been broken, which they had not. Either by ignorance, or willful deceit to prove a point, those were both statements that were made, and both have been proven false. A mother's right to nurse is not a Federally protected matter, and in the state of Utah, it isn't protected either.

    Making a statement that the Corporation at hand violated the law demands that the Constitution be defended and protected.

    Libertarian? I'll leave that alone, as I don't support the legalization of prostitution, gay marriage, hard core drugs, and open borders.

  45. Adam~ My name is Melissa Knighton and I did not mean to post anonymously - the blog did that even though I signed in with my google account. And please educate yourselves on the risks of artificial human milk - there are many, many. Breastfeeding is the only biologically normal way to feed a child up until they are weaned. It contains antibodies and nutritional properties that have not been duplicated. Breastmilk literally completes a child’s immune system. Certainly you can understand that, right? I stand by my statement: without breastfeeding we would not have civilization OR a constitution. It is of upmost importance that we protect a child's right breastfeed. If you think that civilization would go on without breastfeeding than you have been suckered in by the formula companies rhetoric.

  46. Oh, good grief. We get it, Adam. You believe that the company had the right to remove the lady under the current laws. You have a point that there is currently nothing preventing them from doing so legally. In fact, the protest is designed to change that. The supporters of this protest have two goals: to change the company's policy on breastfeeding and to change the laws in Utah to reflect the laws currently on the books in other states that prohibit a business from removing a patron due to breastfeeding (not unlike removing a patron due to religion, sex, race, or orientation).

    The business currently has the right to remove a breastfeeding mother just like businesses had the right to remove African Americans from their establishments for sitting at the counter or to refuse them service all together. Having the right to do so doesn't make it "right".

    The protesters have the constitutional right to peacefully protests in the manner they deem fit in order to get the results they desire. This is no different than African Americans staging "sit-ins" at lunch counters across America. In fact, this type of protest is called a "nurse-in" for just that reason.

    The ultimate goal of these protests is to change the law (and/or company policy) to reflect the idea that breastfeeding is a right and that right cannot be infringed by a business. The fact that you are correct about the current rights of this business just solidifies the reasons for this protest.

    You may not agree with the sentiment that breastfeeding is a right and it is a right for a baby to eat anywhere he is, but that is not for you to decide as you are not, to my knowledge, a lawmaker. The protesters shall make their case known by staging a nurse-in and perhaps boycotting and contacting lawmakers. It is up to the company to decide whether or not to change their policies and it is up to Utah's governing bodies whether or not to change the law. Protests can legally continue until results are seen.

    This is how America works and why the constitution guarantees the right to peacefully protest. The founding fathers wanted the people to be able to show their displeasure with the system and promote change.

  47. @Komsomoletz - I am with you 100%. The issue isn't breast feeding in public, its covering up. Lets not turn this into something its not. Oops, too late.

  48. @Lydia, your statement is ignorant at best. Civil Discrimination laws prevent businesses from removing a an African American simply because he is African American. An African American, or Latino cannot walk outside and not be what they are. A mother can walk outside to nurse her baby without any detriment. There is no law, and will be no law change regarding breastfeeding in Utah. I am VERY politically active in Utah, and personal friends with many of the politicians. I will active campaign for the rights of businesses to control what happens on their property, as opposed to the Stalin approach of denying a business that right.

    You are asking to infringe on a business owners right to remove something they consider offensive. Breastfeeding is not covered under ANY Federal or State law. In your selfish need to push your breastfeeding agenda, you eagerly push aside the Constitution.

    Please show me in the Constitution where a child has the right to eat wherever he wants. By your definition, a hungry child has the right to enter a private household or business and eat his food.

    You have every right to breastfeed, just not wherever you want. It's not in the Constitution, nor is it Federal Law. Are you really suggesting a Constitutional amendment protecting breastfeeding? As soon as your rights start to impede those of a business owner, or private individual, then you have violated the Constitution.

    The Founding Fathers intent was to protect PROPERTY, Life, and Liberty. By forcing a business to allow breastfeeding you are stomping on their property rights, their livelihoods, and their liberty to run their property as they see fit. Asking a nursing mother in NO WAY, causes damage to the mother or child.

    It AMAZES me how the lack of reading by your posters on this board have failed to read that I wouldn't ban a nursing mother from my place of employment, nor do I think what the business did was ethical. It is still their Constitutionally guaranteed right to do so.

  49. Adam, I'm assuming you are male (hey, you never know right?) so I'm assuming also that you have never breastfed a wiggly, cranky, hungry baby in summer weather. I'm also assuming you have NOOOOO idea how hard it can be and usually is to put a towel, blanket, shirt, etc. over a baby or breast who doesn't want it there. Unless and until you understand how stressful and difficult it can be to cover up or "walk outside" with an uncooperative baby and 90+ degree weather, then please take your unsupportive comments to Wholefood's blog or something. Afterall breastfeeding mothers deserve support and laws that support them, not people like you arguing why it's ok to harass nursing mothers.

  50. @Adam. Your comments are belligerent at best. Good for you being friends with so many powerful republicans in Utah (yeah right). I'm sure it's tough for you to get away from keeping the homos down to comment on such an obscure site. We are ever so honored for your time.
    You contradicted nothing I said. You go on and on about the constitution, but for being so "business rights" oriented, you forgot about states' rights to make their own laws(a big deal in the Constitution). We aren't talking about the federal level. We are talking about the state level. Other states have adopted laws that protect a mother's right to breastfeed and a baby's right to eat where ever they are allowed public OR PRIVATE. Your whole argument centers around a business being private property, right?
    Utah wouldn't be breaking any legal precedents here. It's already been done. If you don't agree with it, find a particularly breastfeeding friendly state, start a business there, and sue for your right to be an ass. Take it all the way to the Supreme Court. That is your right. Just like it is our right to try to change Utah's current laws.
    Go ahead and be the champion in the fight for business rights. I'm sure there are tons of poor people who are going to be thrilled to jump on that train. Have fun fighting Equal Marriage rights, too. The world is changing. In this case, changing back as women used to nurse their babies out in public all the time before the invention of bottles.
    While you're at it, get over yourself. This is the internet and you are a troll. Albeit a well versed troll, but a troll nonetheless. Keep on trollin'. Oh, and grats on the inappropriate "Stalin" remark. Suggesting that a woman be allowed to feed her baby in a place of business is totally akin to taking away all rights to personal property. And don't give me any of that "slippery slope" BS. That is a text book logical fallacy.

  51. Adam, I am continually amazed at what you will argue about. Even when we have conceded that your constitution argument is valid, even if not the point of this entire situation. However, it is obvious that you simply want to argue about whatever point anyone brings up, regardless of perspective. So, why don't YOU take YOUR personal attacks elsewhere and let the rest of us try to be proactive, productive, and peaceful in our endeavors.

  52. Lace, quit trying to find reasons to violate the Constitutional rights of the business, it's disgusting that you are doing that.

    Lace, can you read? Did you just skim my previous post, or did you simply skip thru it pretending to read?

    Once again, for ALL OF THE SLOW people. I don't believe it was ethical for them to ask her to leave, I also wouldn't have done it myself as I breastfeeding doesn't bother me.

    There, did you get it that time, Lace? My heck, you people aren't reading what I'm posting in all your pent up anger and frustration, you're failing to read what I've posted.

  53. States rights don't overrule personal property rights, it's actually mentioned directly in the Constitution, Lydia. Have you even read the Constitution? How about the Fed papers? Please don't talk to me about the Constitution until you're considered a Constitutional expert, which I am.

    I'm going to ask Lydia to stop behaving as a child does, and stop with personal attacks and

    Lydia, the ONLY state that has nursing protected laws is California, there isn't a single other state that has made a law, and the nursing law in California is currently being challenged, and there is also currently an injunction against the law being enforced in California, I guess FACTS aren't thing you worry about, though.

    I know that Libs like Lydia are the reason California is bankrupt both morally, and fiscally.

    The Supreme Court has held that asking a woman to leave the establishment because she is nursing is Constitutional, it has also held that a woman may be asked to cover herself up while feeding the baby. I won't bore you with any further FACTS, Lydia. You want the citations, you can look them up yourself this time.

    If you're going to try to speak on the Constitutionality of a thing, one should read the Constitution first.

  54. Adam, you are truly informative and quite clear on your stance here. If I'm ever needing Constitutional help in Utah, you will be the one I call.
    Everyone who opposes your responses should really take the time to read them properly and they will see you are speaking in black and white and are not taking sides.
    But as an aside, I'm going to grow moobs and breast feed some monkeys.

  55. Adam is a Troll!



    Troll: "In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion."

    Sound like anyone you know? Someone who attacks name calling as childish then calls names. He's having fun at your expense. Do not respond to him anymore. Do not feed the trolls.

    Long after this discussion is history, he'll still be checking in to see if someone took his bait. It's what he does. This is the internet. You could be arguing with a bored million dollar lawyer quoting law or a 13 year-old cutting and pasting Wikipedia from his mom's basement. Just ignore his rants. He WON'T go away, but you will aggravate the hell out of him.

  56. Dougpr, please show anywhere that I name called. You won't be able to find it, I've simply refuted beyond a shadow of a doubt that it wasn't illegal to ask them to cover up or leave the establishment.

    You however, are making personal attacks, and I believe that would qualify YOU as the troll, and not I.

    Those who fear the truth, name call and personally attack. You must fear what I have to offer, Dougie.

  57. In general, I think Whole Foods does a great job and knows their demographics pretty well. It's foolish of them to do what they did. I'm sure the problem is less about Whole Foods and more about this uptight community here in Salt Lake. That said, I think a store policy, as requested, is a great idea.

  58. Doug, we're not in disagreement there. Whole Foods is a good company, I don't agree with their decision to do what they did. Had you actually read what I'd posted rather than skimming you would have known that. I support their Constitutional right to control what happens on their own property.

    For the last time, I wouldn't have asked the mother in question to cover up or leave, breastfeeding, neither offends me, nor does it discomfort me.

  59. I've thought about replying to this for a couple of hours, going back and forth on whether or not to weigh in. I figure it's pointless because I'm just going to be told I'm a horrible person because I don't support the blog author 100%.

    If the mom (sorry, I don't know names, this is the first time I've read this blog) was showing enough skin to make several people uncomfortable, then I don't see why the manager was in the wrong for asking the mom to cover up or go somewhere more private. Do I support breastfeeding? Absolutely. I'm a mom, I understand how babies are wiggly and don't let you do anything they don't want. Should the mom have thrown a blanket over the child's head? Absolutely not. Are there discreet ways to breastfeed in public? Yep. You can breastfeed and NO ONE can tell. It is possible! Perhaps more moms need to learn how to do it more dscreetly and there won't be these issues.

  60. Adam: These are the laws regarding breastfeeding that expressly allow breastfeeding in public AND PRIVATE. Check out the law in Connecticut that specifically states any place of public accommodation, resort or amusement cannot restrict a mother from breastfeeding. Washington D.C. amends it's human RIGHTS act to officially classify breastfeeding discrimination with discrimination based on gender. Hawaii calls it discrimination when a business tries to refuse service to a woman because she is breastfeeding. Etc.
    In short (if this post could be called short), there IS a legal prescient for a mother to have a RIGHT to breastfeed in a PRIVATE business. Throw the constitution around all you like, but many states' laws specifically allow a woman to nurse ANYWHERE she is otherwise allowed to be, INCLUDING Whole Foods. You are correct that there is no such law in Utah, but I hope these ladies change that. And now for the information I promised:
    Forty-five states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or PRIVATE location. (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.)

  61. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 201.232, § 201.210, and § 201.220 (1995) state that the breastfeeding of a child in any location, public or private, is not considered a violation of indecent exposure laws. (SB 317)
    N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 132:10-d (1999) state that breastfeeding does not constitute indecent exposure and that limiting or restricting a mother's right to breastfeed is discriminatory. (HB 441)
    N.J. Rev. Stat. § 26:4B-4/5 (1997) entitles a mother to breastfeed her baby in any location of a place of public accommodation, resort or amusement wherein the mother is otherwise permitted. Failure to comply with the law may result in a fine.
    N.M. Stat. Ann. § 28-20-1 (1999) permits a mother to breastfeed her child in any public or private location where she is otherwise authorized to be. (SB 545)
    N.Y. Civil Rights Law § 79-e (1994) permits a mother to breastfeed her child in any public or private location. (SB 3999)
    N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-190.9 (1993) states that a woman is allowed to breastfeed in any public or private location, and that she is not in violation of indecent exposure laws. (HB 1143)
    Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3781.55 (2005) provides that a mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location of a place of public accommodation wherein the mother is otherwise permitted. (SB 41)
    Okla. Stat. tit. 63, § 1-234 (2004) allow a mother to breastfeed her child in any location that she is authorized to be and exempts her from the crimes and punishments listed in the penal code of the state of Oklahoma. (HB 2102)
    R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-13.5-1 and § 23-13.5-2 (2008) allow a woman to feed her child by bottle or breast in any place open to the public and would allow her a private cause of action for denial of this right. (2008 R.I. Pub. Laws, Chap. 223 and Chap. 308, HB 7467 and SB 2283)
    S.C. Code Ann. § 63-5-40 (2005) provides that a woman may breastfeed her child in any location where the mother is authorized to be and that the act of breastfeeding is not considered indecent exposure. (2008 HB 4747)
    Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-58-101 et seq. (2006, 2011) permits a mother to breastfeed in any location, public or private, that the mother is authorized to be, and prohibits local governments from criminalizing or restricting breastfeeding. Specifies that the act of breastfeeding shall not be considered public indecency as defined by § 39-13-511; or nudity, obscene, or sexual conduct as defined in § 39-17-901. This law (Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-58-101 et seq.) and § 39-13-511(d) were amended in 2011 by Tenn. Pub. Acts, Chap. 91 (SB 83) to remove a provision permitting mothers to breastfeed only infants 12 months or younger in any location. (2006 Tenn. Law, Chap. 617; HB 3582)

  62. @Adam: You keep citing the constitutional rights of the store. Whether we agree with her breastfeeding, covered or not covered, or whether the store was within it's rights, it is also well within this mom's constitutional rights to boycott this establishment, call for others to boycott it, or even picket it, let alone call for a nurse-in. Sometimes the only way to get a business' attention IS to hit it in the pocketbook. I say welcome to America and have a nurse-in and see how the stores' react within their constitutional rights.

  63. Adam is an asshole. While there is no law mandating breastfeeding be allowed, there is also no law precluding someone who is sexually harassed because they are breastfeeding from bringing a lawsuit in civil court.

    There is also no law precluding me from calling Adam an asshole, because it is my personal opinion, which also happens to be true.