Danish legislator told she's 'not welcome' in Parliament after bringing baby to work

Danish legislator told she's 'not welcome' in Parliament after bringing baby to work
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The Speaker of Denmark's Parliament set off a debate over women's rights after telling a fellow legislator that she could not be in the body's chambers with her five-month-old baby. 

An assistant for Speaker Pia Kjaersgaard passed Mette Abildgaard a note during the session saying that she was "not welcome with your baby in the parliament’s chamber," according to The Washington Post.  

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Abildgaard, a group leader of the Conservative People's Party, said in a Facebook post that she "didn’t ask for permission to bring her since I had previously seen another colleague bring a child into the chamber without any problems."

She added that she wouldn't normally bring her child to work, but that a vote required her presence and her husband was unavailable to care for their baby, Esther Marie. 

Abildgaard said in her post that she gave her baby to an assistant before returning for the vote. But the legislator denounced the Speaker's request, adding that she did not take advantage of maternity leave to "serve democracy."

 

The New York Times noted that the Danish Parliament has no written regulations regarding a baby's access to the chambers. It is rather the duty of the Speaker to maintain order, the newspaper reported. 

Kjaersgaard defended her decision in a tweet, saying that she "quietly" asked a secretary to make the request of Abildgaard. She added that it was a minor issue. 

But some viewed the stance as unwarranted and outdated. Pernille Skipper, a member of Parliament from the left-wing Red-Green Alliance, wrote that a baby wouldn't disturb anyone so long as they weren't  "screaming and wailing,” the Times noted. 

The issue involving a legislator's right to bring a baby to work has emerged in many countries over the years. A German legislator was kicked out of its parliament in 2018 after bringing her baby into the chamber, according to the Post. 

Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthOvernight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Overnight Defense: US to send 1K more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions | Iran threatens to break limit on uranium production in 10 days | US accuses Iran of 'nuclear blackmail' | Details on key defense bill amendments Senators revive effort to create McCain human rights commission MORE (D-Ill.) became the first senator in U.S. history to cast a vote with her newborn last April.