INDIANAPOLIS -- A mother who claims she was kicked out of an Indiana courtroom for breastfeeding says she wants to make sure other mothers stand up for their rights.
Lydia Godfrey was summoned to court in Richmond, Ind. for a divorce case. According to court documents, Godfrey and her child were summoned after she did not appear for the last hearing or submit funds for genetic testing that was previously ordered. This time, the child would need to be present in order for genetic testing to be done.
While waiting to go into the courtroom, Godfrey began feeding her hungry 3-month-old.
But when she wanted to continue doing so in the courtroom, she claims the clerk told her she couldn't do so inside.
Godfrey says the clerk then spoke privately with the judge, then came back and said she could stop breastfeeding and stay in the courtroom or continue to breastfeed in the hallway. Godfrey chose to finish in the hallway but says she's surprised she couldn't finish breastfeeding in the courtroom when state law allows mothers to breastfeed anywhere the law allows her to be.
She says the clerk then spoke privately with the judge. Godfrey says she was was told she could either stop breastfeeding and stay in the courtroom, or continue feeding the baby out in the hallway.
Godfrey chose to finish in the hallway.
She has a message for other mothers.
"I would say make sure you stand up for your rights and reach out to other people to get your story out there. Until people support breastfeeding, they'll continue to discriminate against it, which makes no sense because our great, great grandparents didn't have any other option," said Godfrey.
Judge Charles Todd, Jr. of superior court in Richmond said he cannot comment on the case.
Court officials say Judge Todd is restrictive regarding minor children and does not allow babies or toddlers to be seated at counsel table. These restrictions are designed to make sure the parties are not distracted and can focus solely on the legal matter.
Todd allowed Godfrey to finish breastfeeding out of the courtroom so she could leave her child with another adult she came with, then enter the courtroom to continue the court matter.