North Carolina Republican state Rep. Tim Moore says that women can protect themselves from a new law that makes baring female breasts illegal by simply applying duct tape to their nipples.
On Wednesday, the state House Judiciary Committee C approved House Bill 34, which makes it a Class H felony to purposefully expose “private parts” for the “purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.”
The bill expands the state’s definition of “private parts” to include a woman’s “nipple, or any portion of the areola.”
Republican state Rep. Rayne Brown told lawmakers that she was co-sponsoring the bill because activists had held a topless women’s rights rally in Asheville last summer, where as many as a dozen women bared their breasts (NSFW video here).
Although Brown’s district is 100 miles from Asheville, she felt it was important to act before women tried to assert their rights again by going topless at another rally.
“You’ve got local governments passing ordinances to protect themselves from just this thing,” she explained. “These folks don’t need to be doing that, but they do it because they’re not sure about the law.”
Under the proposed law, women could spend up to six months in jail for a first offense. “Incidental” nipple exposure by breastfeeding mothers would be exempt from the law.
Democratic state Rep. Annie Mobley said she worried that women wearing “questionable fashions” could be prosecuted under the new rules.
But Committee Chairwoman Rep. Sarah Steven (R) suggested that women could use pasties or nipple coverings just to be safe.
“They’d be good to go” with nipple coverings, Stevens said.
“You know what they say, duct tape fixes everything,” Republican state Rep. Tim Moore agreed.
Watch this video from the Citizen-Times, broadcast Aug. 26, 2013.