Tuesday, July 01, 2014


Update on nursing controversy at IHS

“In Hawaii, there's an expectation that you are discreet," Mitchell said. But she couldn't describe the level of exposure because she hasn't seen Penley nursing.

by Larry Geller

A story posted on the Star-Advertiser website, Honolulu shelter will allow mother to nurse openly (Star-Advertiser, 7/1/2014) sheds more light on the issue reported earlier by HawaiiNewsNow. And it’s not much of an improvement.

In Homeless vs. shelter rules—what really happened at IHS in this breastfeeding incident? (7/1/2014) I commented on reports that rules imposed by the various shelters keep people out. I assumed that it was a staff member who interacted with Ms. Penley, but of course we don’t know what was said. The Star-Advertiser story confirms that it was a staff member, anyway.

What we do know is that IHS executive director Connie Mitchell, according to the the pull-quote above from the on-line story, despite the controversy, had not yet herself seen this mother nursing. You’d think she’d check this out.

Hypothetical: a blind man with a service dog enters a restaurant. The restaurant owner thinks that customers will be bothered by seeing a dog in the restaurant, so offers the blind man a seat in a separate room away from the main dining room.

Is that legal? Is that right?

Next: Hypothetical: a woman chooses to breast feed her infant in a homeless shelter in Honolulu. Like the restaurant owner, those who run the facility think people will be bothered at the sight. So she is offered a room separate from everyone else.

The two are not quite the same, but the question is similar. There are laws that apply, and that make the activity legal. Is it right for IHS to separate someone from everyone else?


“In Hawaii, there's an expectation that you are discreet," Mitchell said.
Yeah, it's the law of the splintered nursing bra.

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