Madeleine Henfling
Politics & Economy

German assembly ousts MP for bringing baby

German State Assembly forced the lawmaker to leave the house when she took her baby with her

The state parliament of Thuringia in east-central Germany ousted the MP, Madeleine Henfling, during a vote.

Henfling, a Green Party member of Thuringia’s parliament, tried to vote towards August end while carrying her 6-week-old baby.

Though her participation would have taken just a few minutes, the state parliament president Christian Carius told Henfling that babies are not allowed in the plenary hall.

The case highlights the issues faced by German lawmakers with children and the sluggish process to help them. “I feel like a second-class parliamentarian just because I have a child to take care of,” Henfling told Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW).

The politician was forced to leave a state parliament during a vote because she brought her baby, highlighting the difficulties faced by lawmakers with children.


What is more surprising is that the parliament session was suspended for 30 minutes to discuss the issue, despite babies and children being not specifically banned from being inside the state parliament, as per law.

“We have made an inquiry into whether or not children are allowed in the chamber, and this examination and a decision by the board of governors has shown that we believe that young children are not allowed in plenary and I would ask that we also, for reasons of child protection, follow these rules,” said Carius.

Henfling reacted to the decision by saying – “It’s a typical old man’s thinking. I know a lot of men who think differently than this. But for someone to say: You should just give your 6-week-child to a babysitter, especially if you are still breastfeeding them, that’s just not reality. Not for a mother.”

In the United States, Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth had made history in April 2018 when she became the first senator to cast a vote on the Senate floor with her newborn by her side. And, in 2017, Senator Larissa Waters became the first woman to breastfeed a child in the Australian Parliament.

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