September 20, 2006

The New York Civil Liberties Union today reiterated its support for client Chelsi Meyerson and other nursing mothers as Meyerson prepared to participate in a nurse-in in front of the Toys R Us store where last Monday employees harassed her for breasfeeding her infant.

The NYCLU informed the Toys R Us company last Thursday that it had violated civil rights law when employees of its Times Square location told Meyerson that she was "not allowed" to breastfeed in the store, informed her that her breastfeeding was "inappropriate" because there were "children around," and called security to enforce their decree.

In response to NYCLU's complaint, Toys R Us has apologized to Ms. Meyerson and informed all of its stores of its nursing policy, which specifies that nursing women may breastfeed their children in the place "of their choice" at Toys R Us stores.

"We laud Chelsi Meyerson for standing up for the rights of women and the health of their babies," said Elisabeth Benjamin, Director of the NYCLU's Reproductive Rights Project. "We are pleased that Toys R Us has apologized to Ms. Meyerson and specially informed all of its stores of a women's right to breast feed her baby wherever she chooses within their stores."

Twelve years ago, after many women experienced harassment and threats for feeding their infants in public places, New York State enacted a law that specifically establishes the right of all New York mothers to breastfeed in public. That statute, a section of New York State's Civil Rights Law, provides that "a mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be."

Thursday's nurse-in is scheduled for 11 a.m. outside the Toys R Us store in Times Square. Individuals seeking more information about the event should contact its organizers by emailing anniej83@hotmail.com or by calling 631.727.9637 or 631.384.1222.