Portland, Oregon doctor forces woman to cover up breastfeeding

Posted at 3:38 AM, Jul 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-27 03:40:18-04

Salem, OREGON (KOIN)-- An Oregon mother said she was humiliated by her doctor as she tried to breastfeed her baby.

She says her doctor told her to cover herself while nursing, claiming it's a clinic policy.
But, according to Portland news outlet KOIN, who originally wrote this story, that would be against Oregon law.

Last month, Jennifer Howard had her first appointment with a doctor at the Salem clinic in part to ask about postpartum depression, and she brought her 4-month-old daughter Evelyn with her.

“During the office visit in the exam room she started crying,” Howard said. “She became hungry and I did what any mom would do, I pick her up and attempt to nurse her."

But she said the doctor stopped her.

"He asked me if I had a cover and I was a little surprised," she said.

She asked the doctor to clarify.

“He said yes, to cover yourself while you're breastfeeding and I said well no doctor has ever asked me to do that before and he said well it's a rule we have to prevent lawsuits from something inappropriate," she said.

The appointment continued - but Jennifer was upset.

"It was humiliating honestly, I'm just trying to feed my baby, I'm not doing anything that should be hidden,” she said.  “He could have gotten a nurse if he was uncomfortable, he could have simply excused himself and left the room."

After the appointment, she called patient services.

"[They] informed me there was no breastfeeding policy they don't have one at all," Howard said.

Under Oregon law - women have the right to breastfeed in public. 

Howard has since filed a complaint with the Oregon medical board.