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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Woman Charged for Driving While Nursing

Aired June 20, 2003 - 19:28   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Medical experts say breast-feeding is best for the baby's health. You probably know that.
But one woman took that word of advice behind the wheel literally. Jonathan Costin from CNN affiliate WEWS has more now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop! Stop! Right now! Stop!

JONATHAN COSTIN, WEWS CORRESPONDENT: A trucker spotted her nursing and called police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got a baby in your front seat. Do you know how unsafe that is?

COSTIN: Authorities charged Catherine Donkers with a list of crimes, including child endangerment. Her husband says nursing while driving is faster.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most of the time when she runs back and forth between here and her mom's place or here and her home, she'll stop at the rest stop and nurse. But that turns a five hour trip into a seven hour trip and she had things to do. OK?

COSTIN: And besides, the couple says, nursing while driving is legal.

CATHERINE DONKERS, PULLED OVER FOR NURSING WHILE DRIVING: It's not like I'm trying to change a diaper while I'm driving. She pretty much just lays there on this pillow on my lap. I would certainly submit that talking on a cell phone causes far more distraction than nursing a child when she's just laying there.

COSTIN: Donkers resided in Michigan. She says Michigan law allows an exemption for a child restraint law for nursing moms.

Even though was pulled over in Ohio, she says Ohio law allows her to follow Michigan law. So is Donkers restrained?

DONKERS: Absolutely. Not because of its the law, but because I think I would be a fool not to.

COSTIN: So why isn't it foolish to restrain her daughter?

DONKERS: It's lawful for me to nurse my child while I'm driving. It's not like she's sitting on a floor matt and she's unrestrained for a seven-hour drive.

COSTIN: Jonathan Costin at News Channel 5.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: What do you think?

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