US politicians introduce bill criminalizing nipple exposure

Last Updated: Sat, Feb 16, 2013 12:00 hrs

North Carolina state representatives have introduced a bill that would "clarify" state law to specifically forbid baring of women's breasts.

The proposed legislation, House Bill 34, will make it a Class H felony to bare "external organs of sex and of excretion, including the nipple, or any portion of the areola, of the human female breast," the Huffington Post reported.

According to WRAL in Raleigh, Representative Rayne Brown (r), who co-sponsored the bill, said that while it may seem frivolous and even funny, "there are communities across this state, there's local governments across this state, and also local law enforcement for whom this issue is really not a laughing matter."

Brown said that she was driven, in part, by Asheville's second annual topless protest and women's rally last August.

According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, the event last year drew around a dozen women, who took off their shirts to "promote women's equality."

Depending on the intent of the exposure, women could face up to six months in prison for an errant areola, with "more mundane" exposure resulting in a 30-day sentence, an exemption has been given for breastfeeding.

HB 34 would give law enforcement authority to make arrests and would clear up confusion due to a 1970 state Court of Appeals ruling that said the term "private parts," as then specified in state law, did not include breasts. (ANI)

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