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State Lawmakers Push Bill to Make Exposing Breasts a Crime

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Lawmakers backing a New Hampshire bill to criminalize women exposing their breasts in public say that failing to pass it could hurt the state's tourism industry and lead to rampant nudity.

Reps. Brian Gallagher and Peter Spanos are co-sponsors of legislation that would make it a misdemeanor for women to show their breasts or nipples in public with "reckless disregard" for whether it would offend someone.

Backers say families and children shouldn't be exposed to women's bare breasts in public. Opponents say it violates the constitution by creating different standards for women and men. Dozens of people spoke for and against the measure, including Representative Amanda Bouldin, a Democrat from Manchester.

Earlier this earlier Bouldin was criticized on social media by some fellow legislators for publicly opposing this legislation. She said she's against the bill because it discriminates against women.

"The people who demonstrated in public were at the time fighting against what they see as cultural norms but if you give them a law to fight then I think you will just be encouraging more and more toplessness in the form of civil disobedience."

Bouldin is referring to the “Free the Nipple Movement,” whose members have demonstrated across the state and are also involved in a legal battle over the issue.

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