The Legislative Yuan yesterday passed the Act Governing Breastfeeding in Public Places (公共場所母乳哺育條例), which makes it illegal for anyone to prevent women from breastfeeding in public.
The act stipulates that anyone who prohibits a woman from breastfeeding in public or asks that she leave a specific area to do so will face a fine of between NT$6,000 and NT$30,000.
The act also requires that department stores, megastores, government agencies, train stations, airports and public transit areas provide a breastfeeding room. Failure to abide by this requirement could result in a maximum fine of NT$30,000.
Those establishments will have one year to make breastfeeding rooms available from the time the act is promulgated.
Legislators also passed an additional resolution calling on the Department of Health to actively promote breastfeeding.
The resolution nevertheless said the department should abide by the WHO spirit of respecting a mother’s decision about whether to breastfeed.
“Breastfeeding is how a mother shows her love for her children as well as a woman’s right,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Sue-ying (黃淑英) told the legislature after the bill was passed.
“This country should create a breastfeeding-friendly environment so that women can feel comfortable nursing their babies,” she said.
Prior to passage of the bill, Taipei City on April 1 became the first city in Taiwan to implement the Public Breastfeeding Regulation (公共場所母乳哺育自治條例) guaranteeing a mother’s right to breastfeed in public.
Under the regulations adopted by Taipei, anyone who tries to prevent a mother from breastfeeding in public is subject to a fine of between NT$5,000 and NT$30,000.
Advocates of breastfeeding had been fighting for the right to breastfeed in public since a number of women in October 2005 were asked by Taipei Story House to leave because they were nursing their babies.