Judge Tells Breastfeeding Mom To Cover Up In Court

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A North Carolina mom says a judge tried to boot her from court for breastfeeding her young son.

Stephanie Rhodus appeared in county court Monday during a custody hearing involving one of her other children, she told the Asheville Citizen-Times.

When she was breastfeeding her eight-month-old, Archer, uncovered, the judge had some choice words for her.

"Ma’am, you need to cover up — for you not to realize that is absolutely ridiculous," Judge Peter Knight said in a recording obtained by the outlet.

“Step outside and cover up right now. Stand up and go, now.”

Archer was crying, but the judge kept scolding Rhodus, telling her that nursing her baby in the courtroom was “absolutely inappropriate.”

Rhodus, 25, told ABC News she was shocked.

"He was so condescending and so aggressive, and I knew that by law I had the right to breastfeed my child there, and I wanted to declare that I had the right to do that there, but I was terrified."

She said she stopped nursing Archer and apologized to Knight.

Under North Carolina law, a mother can breastfeed anywhere, even uncovered. Rhodus told ABC the judge ruled against her in the custody case, and she thinks feeding her baby affected his decision.

"He was so condescending and so aggressive, and I knew that by law I had the right to breastfeed my child there, and I wanted to declare that I had the right to do that there, but I was terrified."

In a statement emailed to the Washington Post, Knight said the court accommodates breastfeeding women, even when they’re waiting for their case to be called.

"However, when a case is called and a party is participating in a formal hearing before the court, all litigants are expected to respect the same rules of procedure, decorum and dress.”

He said that accommodations for breastfeeding would have been made if needed.

Rhodus has received a lot of support online. A "nurse-in" is planned for Tuesday outside the Hendersonville courthouse, the same day the mom will appear in court to appeal the custody ruling.

What do you think? Did the judge step out of line? let us know in the comments below.

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