The incident sparked “nurse-ins” at Delta counters across the country. And while both Delta and its partner Freedom Airlines, which operated Gillette’s flight on behalf of Delta, have apologized and reaffirmed the right of women to breast-feed on their planes, Gillette filed a civil suit against Delta in the U.S. District Court in the fall of 2009.
Of course, the plane ejection was far from the only time a nursing mother has been asked to leave a public space. Women have even been asked to do their nursing elsewhere by that reliable mom haven, Starbucks. The incidents usually spark well-publicized outrage and inspire a bevy of breast-feeding women to descend on the site of the dispute in protest of the idea that nursing women should be banished to the ugly confines of a public-toilet stall — usually the only private area available.
The whole thing usually ends up with an apology from the institution or business involved — after all, public breast feeding is protected under the law in most states and on all federal property. Just last week, Washington’s Hirshhorn Museum had to apologize after a Smithsonian guard asked a mother move to a restroom to nurse.