Senator Márquez and her baby. Senator Márquez and her baby.

‘Breastfeeding is a right,’ senator says after baby in Congress draws rebuke

'There's a limit to the tolerance that can be given to a mother and her child,' warns president of the lower house

A breastfeeding senator exceeded the limits of tolerance in Congress this week.

National Action Party (PAN) Senator Martha Cecilia Márquez is seeking the support of the Morena party leadership after the president of the Chamber of Deputies chastised her for taking her baby to a session of the Permanent Commission of Congress.

With baby in arms, she addressed the commission on Tuesday to present her party’s position on President López Obrador’s strategy to combat fuel theft and the resulting fuel shortages.

After she exceeded her allotted time, Porfirio Muñoz Ledo interrupted: “There’s a limit to the tolerance that can be given to a mother and her child.”

The 34-year-old senator from Colima, who is the author of a proposed law regarding protection for pregnant women, told reporters later that she saw Muñoz’s interruption as “violent and discriminatory.”

“I bring my baby to work because breastfeeding is a right, because she’s very young and because she breastfeeds — that’s why.”

The senator acknowledged that although the balance of maternity and career might be even more challenging to maintain in other professions, the challenges facing working mothers are essentially the same: eating with one hand, eating on the run and moving around a work space with baby in hand. She also pointed out the Senate’s lack of designated breastfeeding areas and changing stations.

Márquez called on the Morena party leadership to distance themselves from Muñoz, a Morenista himself, in light of his comment, saying that solidarity between lawmakers was of great importance in working to write better laws on behalf of women, “to ensure that these situations do not occur anywhere.”

The PAN senator charged that the president had been rude on various occasions, to men as well as women, and said she expected an apology, “not just for the comments made to me personally, but because this is a gender equality issue. For the first time ever there is gender parity in Congress, and that should be reflected in our attitudes.”

Source: Reforma (sp), Milenio (sp)

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