A politician in New Hampshire has removed his name from a proposed bill after saying that a mother has a right to breastfeed, but if a woman wants to take out her nipple in public, a man should have a right to stare or grab at that nipple too.
The comment, posted on Facebook by New Hampshire state Rep. Josh Moore (pictured), was in response to another state representative’s post about a proposed bill that would make it illegal for a woman to “purposely expos[e] the areola or nipple of her breast or breasts in a public place and in the presence of another person with reckless disregard for whether a reasonable person would be offended or alarmed by such act.” Currently, it is legal in New Hampshire for men or women to expose their nipples, but this law would change that … at least for women. The proposed bill does make an exception for public breastfeeding.
New Hampshire state Rep. Amanda Bouldin. (Photo: Amanda Bouldin/Facebook)
New Hampshire state Rep. Amanda Bouldin, a Democrat, opposes the new bill. “We shouldn’t be introducing new legislation that only applies to women,” she told Slate. “If we had any laws that started with the sentence ‘women should not,’ they should have been repealed by now.”
In a Facebook post on Dec. 30 that has since been taken down, Bouldin spoke out against the new law, specifically pointing out that despite being sponsored exclusively by Republican men, the bill does a lot of individual policing for a party that supports “limited government.” In her Facebook post, Bouldin called the bill sexist, according to Slate, and got a response from Moore, a Republican.
“Who doesn’t support a mothers right to feed?” Moore asked in his comment, suggesting that he is a supporter of nursing mothers. But then he went on to question any woman who would expose her nipple in public. “If it’s a woman’s natural inclination to pull her nipple out in public and you support that, then you should have no problem with a man’s inclination to stare at it and grab it. After all.. It’s ALL relative and natural, right?”
Though the conversation has been deleted from Facebook, Bouldin took a screenshot of Moore’s comment and shared it on Twitter, and it has elicited a strong backlash. On her Facebook page, users from across the country have posted messages of thanks to Bouldin for standing up for women’s rights and have skewered Moore as well as Rep. Al Baldasaro, who also commented in Bouldin’s Facebook post. “Amanda, no disrespect, but your nipple would be the last one I would want to see,” Baldasaro wrote. “You want to turn our family beaches into a pervert show.”
On Tuesday, Moore posted a statement on Facebook, announcing that he is withdrawing his name from the proposed bill. “I fully support a mother’s right to breastfeed,” he wrote. “My comment was misrepresented and was not a threat towards my colleague. … I emphatically denounce any man’s unwanted advances towards any woman under any circumstances. I have always defended family values and will continue to do so. I will be withdrawing my name from HB1525 due to the fact that I have brought negative attention to this bill.”
Despite the backlash, Bouldin says she isn’t looking for either of her colleagues to say they’re sorry. “To those who’ve been demanding an apology of Rep. Moore or Rep. Al Baldasaro, I don’t need that,” Bouldin wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “Just kill the bill.”
(Top photo: Josh Moore/Twitter)