Friday Double Dose: Breastfeeding Mom Kicked off Plane, "Women," Not "Womyn" and A Very Wrong Egg

By Christine Cupaiuolo — November 17, 2006

Get With the Program: You’d think by now all employees of every store/airline/restaurant would be better trained in dealing with breastfeeding moms. The latest incident involves a woman who was kicked off a Freedom Airlines flight (hold the irony) from Vermont to New York after declining a flight attendant’s suggestion she use a blanket to cover up while breastfeeding. Upon hearing the news, more than a dozen Vermont mothers went to Burlington International Airport for a nurse-in.

Today Freedom Airlines, which runs commuter flights for Delta, announced that it had disciplined the flight attendant for acting contrary to company expectations. Spokesman Paul Skellon also apologized for stating earlier this week, “A breast-feeding mother is perfectly acceptable on an aircraft, providing she is feeding the child in a discreet way.”

“To clarify our policy,” said Skellon Friday, “Freedom Airlines firmly supports a mother’s right to breast feed a child. We understand that air travel presents particular difficulties to a nursing passengers. Moreover while blankets are available for passengers convenience, we do not expect (and will not in the future request) that nursing mothers use a blanket to cover their child while nursing. My comment in the original article to the contrary was not an accurate statement of our policy.”

Meanwhile, 27-year-old mother Emily Gillette disputes the airline’s assertion that she was invited back on the flight and has filed a charge against both airlines with the Vermont Human Rights Commission. Breastfeeding is protected under Vermont’s Public Accommodations Law. (Wondering where your state stands? Check out the National Conference of State Legislatures 50-state summary of breastfeeding laws.)

Check out Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner’s post on this subject — contact information for the CEO of Delta included.

A Big Welcome to Dr. Eric Keroack: “Putting this guy in charge of the federal family planning program designed to ensure the sexual and reproductive health of low-income women? Sounds like a match made in heaven,” writes Andrea Lynch at RH Reality Check. “Once he starts his new job (conveniently, there is no confirmation process), Dr. Keroack will join a pantheon of anti-abortion, anti-contraception, homophobic ideologues hand-picked by the Decider-in-Chief to staff federal agencies and oversee federal programs over the past few years.”

Grandmothers in the Middle: From Newswise: “Grandmothers who have living parents or in-laws and find themselves raising grandchildren experience a greater sense of burden and depression, according to University of Missouri-Columbia researcher Teresa Cooney. She believes that the increased burden and depression was due to the potential demands placed on middle-generation women.”

The study, “Women in the Middle: Generational Position and Grandmothers’ Adjustment to Raising Grandchildren,” was published in the summer 2006 issue of Journal of Women and Aging, also looks at the influence of education on a woman’s sense of burden.

University casts out radical old ‘womyn’ for younger, less ardent ‘women’“: That’s the headline of this National Post story about a change of name for the University of Waterloo’s campus women’s center.

Reminder: Lung Cancer is Deadliest for Women: “More than 72,000 women nationwide are expected to die of lung cancer this year, according to the American Cancer Society. That’s more than a quarter of all cancer deaths in women and 30,000 more deaths than from breast cancer,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle. But it’s not sexy.

“The Wrong Egg”: From Salon, “When a fertility clinic mistakenly placed a client’s sperm in the wrong woman, the man sued for the right to be called the baby’s father. Trouble is, the law says he’s nobody’s daddy.”

From the Archives: L.A. Times rediscovers “A red letter day for feminism.”

Five Years Later: Photographer Paula Lerner and Marla Gitterman, program director for Bpeace, answered questions online at the Washington Post about the multimedia Women of Kabul.

Comments are closed.