Riddle's Facebook Post Angers Breast-Feeding Moms

State Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Houston, speaks in favor of Amendment #5 to SB4 the congressional redistricting bill that would affect a small portion of north Harris County during debate on June 14, 2011.  The amendment was eventually tabled.
State Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Houston, speaks in favor of Amendment #5 to SB4 the congressional redistricting bill that would affect a small portion of north Harris County during debate on June 14, 2011. The amendment was eventually tabled.

A Facebook update state Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, posted on Tuesday suggesting that mothers should be "modest" while breast-feeding their babies in public has generated nearly 1,000 comments — most of them outraged. 

In her post, Riddle says she opposes House Bill 1706, which would outlaw interfering with or restricting the right of a parent to breast-feed in public. The bill would permit anyone who believes their breast-feeding rights have been violated to file a lawsuit and seek damages and attorney's fees. 

In her post, Riddle wrote that "a bill that would allow for lawsuits if one 'interfered' with a woman breastfeeding is really going a bit far." She added that while she is "all in favor of breast feeding," she thinks it is "important for women to be modest while feeding their baby" — and that she believes most women already are. 

State Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, who authored the legislation, said Riddle's post "illustrates the problem" she hopes to address. 

"Lingerie commercials reveal more than women actually trying to do good for their children and their families," she said. "... Some people think that breastfeeding is somehow obscene."  

Facebook commenters, who had surpassed 970 in number by Thursday morning, were furious. 

"There is nothing immodest about a nursing baby, no matter how much breast you see!" one wrote. 

"Please ban cleavage first," another taunted. 

One woman posted a picture of herself breastfeeding in the comments of another one of Riddle's posts, after Riddle's original Facebook status disappeared from her page. 

Riddle could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday. 

"Most of our laws and bills being considered for law would not be necessary if people would simply be considerate and thoughtful of others," Riddle said in the Facebook post. "Needless to say — I am not supporting this bill." 

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.