The New York City Police Department has reminded its 34,000 officers than women appearing in public “simply exposing their breasts” have committed no crime, according to a report in The New York Times.
New York’s highest court decided in 1992 the law which prohibited females exposing their breasts below the top of the areola violated the equal protection clauses of the Federal and New York Constitutions. The equal protection clause is part of the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Topless advocate Moira Johston says that baring breasts is a human rights issue and a health issue. She says public toplessness would reduce the incidents of breast cancer. (Warning, the link features Johnston speaking topless, which is considered nude in New Jersey, but not in New York.)
New Jersey’s courts have taken a different view of female public toplessness.
In September of 2011 the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court upheld a Spring Lake Borough ordinance that considers female toplessness lewd and indecent. Affirming a 2001 case, the Court ruled that there is no constitutional right for women to appear topless in public and that and restrictions on the exposure of the female breast are supported by the important governmental interest in safeguarding the public’s moral sensibilities.
As the summer season approaches, female beach goers and roadside rallyers are advised to keep their tops on in New Jersey.