Is it Legal to Breastfeed in Public in South Carolina?

I’m not sorry – The next female that tries to whip her boob out to breastfeed in front of my kids will get a black eye, move that baby bc I’ll punch it too.





That’s what Carly Clark had to say on her Facebook profile that prompted a huge blowback, media attention, and the loss of her job at Petsense in Greenville, SC (which, according to Carly, was facing a boycott if they continued to employ her).

Is she so passionate about the dangers of breastfeeding that she would punch a baby? Does she want to protect children from the horrors of breastfeeding? Does she want to protect all of society from the indecency and the Godless sin of children being fed from their mother’s breast?

Probably not.

It seems clear that she wants attention, which she is now getting in spades…

Carly Clark, American Hero

Most people who say something horrible, hurtful, and despicable will backtrack after the public backlash – they get it now, they were sorry, they weren’t thinking, they were drunk, whatever – they remove the offensive post and apologize.

Carly Clark responded gleefully by doubling down, coming up with as many outrageous things as she could possibly think of, replacing her profile picture with a picture of Wonder Woman with Carly’s face, and changing her profile name to “Carly Clark, American Hero.”

Lately, it seems like a good-sized section of our country has gone insane – Carly Clark, American Hero, is now the poster-child for the American Idiocracy.

What Else Does the American Hero Say?

Carly Clark is basking in the attention she is getting at the moment. Of course, she doesn’t want her five minutes to end, so she continues to rant on her Facebook profile about the horrors of breastfeeding:

  • “We can’t have all you sicko’s out in public looking like you’re having epileptic fits while breastfeeding. Warrants a fair and square smack in the chops if you leave a snail trail on your seat. Filthy third world wannabes.”
  • “I’d like to thank all that complained to my pet store. I got a fantastic severance package. Will probably take a few months holidays. I was thinking Hawaii, any suggestions?”
  • “Women breastfeed in public because they enjoy giving onlooking young boys erections.”
  • She cites to a Fox News segment for the proposition that breastfeeding is unnatural.
  • “You’re all hypocrites. What mother hasn’t dreamed about punching a baby?”
  • “Hitler was breastfed, if you support breastfeeding you’re Hitler, literally.” (With a badly photoshopped picture of Hitler biting a woman’s breast)
  • A fake tweet from President Trump that says “Carly Clark is a true American hero anyone hating on her is public enemy number one. Sad.”
  • “Breastfeeding is basically sexually assaulting a baby so if you do this you’re a child molester and you can miss me with that pedo shit.”
  • “If you get off on breastfeeding in public please keep your fetish away from the children.”
  • “Clearly mothers get off exposing themselves in public, but please keep your indecent perversion away from the children.”

Where Trump, Fox News, and Racism Intersect with Breastfeeding…

In a single meme in one Facebook post that claims to explain why breastfeeding is so dangerous, the American Hero also asserts that:

  • Breastfeeding sexualizes babies;
  • Because babies are sexualized, there is a 99.9% chance of your baby growing up to be a pedophile;
  • Because the baby is sexualized, there is a 99.9% chance of your baby growing up to marry a black guy;
  • Hitler and Judas were breastfed and, again, you’re turning your child into Hitler;
  • Breastfeeding teaches addictive behavior and your child will grow up to be a junky;
  • Breastfeeding in public is free porn for pedophiles; and
  • Breastfeeding is scientifically proven to cause brain damage.

As if it matters, in my opinion, we can also infer from Carly’s Facebook profile that she is 1) a Trump supporter, 2) a Fox News watcher, and 3) a racist…

So, Can I Breastfeed in Public in South Carolina or Not?

All fifty states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands now have laws that make it clear that it is legal for women to breastfeed in any public or private place where they have a right to be.

To be clear: Yes, you can breastfeed in public in South Carolina.

Also, to be as blunt as possible, if you are presenting a real, present threat to my baby’s life – for example, by punching my baby while I am breastfeeding, you can expect to die.

Defense of others is an absolute defense to murder in South Carolina, and, like most mothers, I will defend my child. Think mama bear…

Does South Carolina Have Laws About Breastfeeding in Public?

As a matter of fact, we do.

SC Code Section 63-5-40, “Breastfeeding,” makes it clear that a woman may breastfeed anywhere, public or not. It also specifically excludes breastfeeding from the definition of indecent exposure:

(A) A woman may breastfeed her child in any location where the mother and her child are authorized to be.

(B) Breastfeeding a child in a location where the mother is authorized to be is not considered indecent exposure.

SC Code Section 16-15-130 defines indecent exposure, a misdemeanor offense that carries up to three years in prison, and specifically excludes breastfeeding from its definition:

(A)(1) It is unlawful for a person to wilfully, maliciously, and indecently expose his person in a public place, on property of others, or to the view of any person on a street or highway.

(2) This subsection does not apply to a woman who breastfeeds her own child in a public place, on property of others, to the view of any person on a street or highway, or any other place where a woman and her child are authorized to be…

Can You Pump in Public in South Carolina?

Not every mother wants to or is able to breastfeed upon demand – many mothers pump milk for their babies instead. Like breastfeeding, it’s an activity that can’t always wait until you get home.

Is it legal to pump in public?

That’s a grey area. There is no specific law that authorizes pumping in public, and the indecent exposure statute does not specifically exclude pumping from its definition. That makes it technically illegal to pump in public if you are not using a cover.

Will you be arrested for pumping in public?

It’s possible if you are exposed while pumping. I am not aware of any arrests in the state of South Carolina of mothers pumping milk, however. I recently talked to an officer about this, and their opinion was: 1) they could make an arrest under existing ordinances, but 2) they probably would not.

Arguably, the breastfeeding statutes cover pumping as well. But, because they do not explicitly cover pumping, I recommend that mothers pump in public whenever they need to – but – use a cover.

Using a cover is not horribly inconvenient, it preserves the delicate sensibilities of people whose eyes burn if they see an exposed breast, and, most importantly, there is no question as to whether you are breaking any laws.

Why Do I Care What Carly Clark, American Hero Says?

I really don’t.

You may not be able to tell by the commentary above, but I’m a believer in not feeding the trolls – the American Hero clearly will do anything for attention. She probably does not believe half of what she says, but she is continuing because she loves the attention. Maybe she’ll even be rewarded with some TV interviews and a book deal, as she has said on her profile page.

So, why feed the troll?

Because there are a lot of people who really do think it’s okay to tell a nursing mother where they can and cannot breastfeed. There are a lot of people who don’t understand breastfeeding and who are unable to tolerate what they don’t understand. We need to draw attention to the issue and spark real, intelligent conversations about it.

In other breastfeeding news:

A newborn’s father breastfeeds his baby using a fake nipple shield and feeding tube because his wife was unable to breastfeed after complications during the birth, and Sports Illustrated model Mara Martin breastfeeds on the runway.

SC Criminal Defense Lawyer in Columbia, Lexington, and Myrtle Beach

I don’t believe that South Carolina police are going to arrest anyone for breastfeeding in public – the law clearly allows it. Some officer somewhere might make an arrest for pumping in public, though. If it does happen, call me.

If you have been charged with any crime in South Carolina, we can help. Call the Thompson Defense Firm now at 843-444-6122 or use our contact form to set up a free initial consultation.

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