The law of breasts in Colorado |

The law of breasts in Colorado

Oh my. There are even laws concerning breasts? Well, in ten words or less, “yes.”There are laws about breast feeding, laws about breast touching, laws about breast showing, laws about breast cancer, laws about special breast cancer awareness license plates, and laws about the sexual exploitation and/or corruption of children, but to name a few.In 2004, Governor Owens signed into law a new set of statutes encouraging breast feeding for the first six months of a baby’s life. The law observes that “there are diverse and compelling advantages to breastfeeding for infants, mothers, families, and society.” The legislation further observed that “breastfeeding results in substantial benefits to society, including reduced health care costs, reduced environmental damage, reduced governmental spending on the women, infants, and children supplementary feeding programs, and reduced employee absenteeism for care attributable to infant illness” and, more, that “breastfeeding is a basic and important act of nurturing that should be encouraged in the interests of maternal and infant health.”The Legislative declaration, in enacting the new law, at least in part, expressly, “encourage[s] removal of societal boundaries placed on breastfeeding in public.” Accordingly, the law provides, explicitly, boldly and simply that “a mother may breastfeed in any place she has a right to be.” As simple as that. As the law is new, there are bound to be challenges to it in the future as to how explicit a mother may be when breast feeding her child.As to breast cancer, there are various laws on the books, including ones establishing programs for breast cancer screening. Among the provisions of the law are the “creation and development of a breast cancer screening program, undertaken by private contract for services or operated by the department [of health], that will improve the availability of breast cancer screening and which may include the purchase, maintenance, and staffing of a truck, a van, or any other vehicle suitably equipped to perform breast cancer screening” and “to provide such further breast cancer diagnostic screening services, as may be indicated” as well as “the creation and operation of a referral service for the benefit of women for whom further examination or treatment is indicated by the breast cancer screening.”There is also a law pertaining to breast and cervical cancer prevention and treatment programs. The express purpose of this law is “to provide for the prevention and treatment of breast and cervical cancer to women where it is not otherwise available for reasons of cost.” The program was established to create “a breast and cervical cancer prevention and treatment program to provide medical benefits to eligible persons.” Accordingly, a special fund was created in the state treasury. For the fiscal year 2005-06, the general assembly is mandated under the law to appropriate fifty percent of the state costs of the breast and cervical cancer prevention and treatment program from the general fund and the remaining fifty percent from the moneys credited to the breast and cervical cancer prevention and treatment fund. For the fiscal years 2006-07 and 2007-08, the general assembly will appropriate seventy-five percent of the state costs of the breast and cervical cancer prevention and treatment program from the general fund and twenty-five percent from the moneys credited to the breast and cervical cancer prevention and treatment fund. For the fiscal year 2008-09 the general assembly shall appropriate one hundred percent of the state costs. At last, your tax dollars are at work in the name of a worthwhile cause. As of now, unless renewed, the program is set to expire in 2009.As to license plates, effective July, 2006, there will be issued special breast cancer awareness “vanity” license plates. Of course, for payment of an additional licensing fee.Under the rubric of sexual exploitation of children, it is defined as “erotic fondling”, and therefore a crime, to touch a child, whether through or under the clothes, on the breasts, or developing or undeveloped breast area, “for the purpose of real or simulated overt sexual gratification or stimulation.” The sexual exploitation of a child is a class 3 felony. Showing sexually explicit materials to children, including a woman’s bare breast, may also be a crime.Included under the definition of unlawful sexual behavior, is touching a female’s breasts without consent. Such conduct can constitute, depending on the circumstances, unlawful sexual contact or sexual assault.Baring one’s breasts in public may amount to an act of public indecency which is a class 1 petty offense. Taking pictures of bare breasts, without that person’s consent, where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, amounts to criminal invasion of privacy and constitutes a class 2 misdemeanor.Breasts can show up in liquor licensing as well and where breasts and liquor service are involved, the combination could cause the licensee suspension or revocation of his or her license.Breasts, you see, are everywhere. Even in the law. And you would do well to know a thing or two about them. At least within the context of the laws that govern one and all.Rohn K. Robbins is an attorney licensed before the Bars of Colorado and California who practices in the Vail Valley. He is a member of the Colorado State Bar Association Legal Ethics Committee and is a former adjunct professor of law. Mr. Robbins lectures for Continuing Legal Education for attorneys in the areas of real estate, business law and legal ethics. He may be heard on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. on KZYR radio (97.7 FM) as host of “Community Focus.” Mr. Robbins may be reached at 926-4461 or at his e-mail address: robbins@colorado.netVail, Colorado

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