Woman says judge threatened to take baby because she was breastfeeding in courtroom

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SMITHFIELD, NC (WRAL/NBC News) A North Carolina mother says she was kicked out of court while breast-feeding her baby, and warned the child will be taken from her if it happens again.

Danielle Bell said she was breast-feeding 3-month-old Penelope in the back of the Johnston County courtroom last week as she waited for her traffic court case to be called. A deputy told her to leave, saying no children under 12 were allowed in the courtroom, she said.

Bell said she left, even though state and federal laws permit women to breast-feed in public facilities and she and the baby had been covered up by a sling.

“I felt discriminated against,” she said Monday. “This is the way she survives – by breast-feeding – because she refuses a bottle.”

She said she left Penelope with her husband in the hallway when she returned to the courtroom to speak with District Court Judge Resson Faircloth about her case. She said Faircloth told her not to bring the baby again.

“If leave her home, she’s unable to eat,” Bell said she told the judge. “He then replied to me that was not his problem and that, if I had any other excuse, he was going to take her that day and have me put in contempt.”

 

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