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Conservative activist says Ohio should criminalize breastfeeding in public

As a mom who breastfed two children and who has known a number of women who publicly breastfeed, including my own mother back in the 1980s, I’m always shocked when stuff like this comes out. Believe it or not, there are people who find public breastfeeding inappropriate and even immoral. But one conservative activist in Ohio takes it too far by linking female toplessness during the act of breastfeeding with “gay pride.”

I’m having a really hard time wrapping my mind around this guy’s train of thought, so bear with me. Patrick Johnson is the director of the anti-abortion group Personhood Ohio. He is attempting to “rally the troops” and put an end to public breastfeeding once and for all with a full ban on female nudity.

Johnson’s church group is also known for protesting female nudity at strip clubs in the local area. Sadly, it appears that Johnson’s church affiliation falls into the category of yet another zealous group that gives religion a bad name. These holy crusaders are just a few steps away from Westboro Baptist Church, and we all know how well they’ve turned out.

Johnson was quoted by ABC as saying, “I think when we allow women to flaunt their sexuality to the public, flaunt their nudity to the public, it’s harmful to marriage. I am sick that women can legally bare their breasts to children and to married men against their will in Ohio. What they did was an offense to God, was an offense to the public morality, and the legislature should act to criminalize what they did.” 

So there is his argument in black and white, and I still don’t fully understand it. First and foremost, anyone who is turned on by a woman feeding her child as God intended is sick. Married men who see such breasts “against their will” need to either look the other way or perhaps not get turned on by a completely natural act that is as old as time. Public breastfeeding is not an offense to God. Breastfeeding involving topless women should not be criminalized.

Johnson concludes with a Facebook post that blames the increasing attendance of the Columbus gay pride parade on these topless women. He says it is “the only one where I’ve seen this level of nudity.” So, in his warped thinking, banning public nudity during breastfeeding would cut down on gay pride parade attendance.

While this so-called activist makes very little sense in his argument, his bigoted views are an offense to me, to all breastfeeding women and all gay men and women everywhere. Let’s ban him instead.

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