jury duty

in maryland, a breastfeeding mother was sentenced to a night in jail for trying to postpone jury duty until summer when her two-month-old baby would be older and she could more easily find childcare.

legislation to exempt nursing mothers has been defeated twice in maryland. according to the chair for the maryland senate judicial proceedings committee, "If you start saying, we’re gonna excuse people for breastfeeding, you’ve gotta say ok to kidney dialysis, chemotherapy and all the other maladies that afflict the human condition."

so in maryland, you have to postpone medically necessary chemotherapy or dialysis treatments in order to to serve on a jury?! that is unbelievably outrageous. i fully believe in doing one's civic duty, but not at any cost. also, is he calling breastfeeding a disorder? he must not realize that
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers breastfeed exclusively for six months but continuing for at least the 1st year of a child's life and that arrangements be made to allow a mother's expressing of milk if mother and child must separate. (House-introduced Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2007, AMENDMENTS TO THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964)
not two weeks after i read about this, i received my own summons. thankfully, childcare shouldn't be an issue for me, but dylan does eat every three hours, so if i were to serve i would need to be able to pump at the courthouse, which would not be the most comfortable or convenient scenario. dylan has never taken more than the occasional bottle either, because i am almost always with her. she probably would, but some babies refuse bottles, and their moms absolutely couldn't serve on a jury. only 12 states have laws with jury duty provisions for breastfeeding moms, and pennsylvania is not one of them. i kept putting off dealing with it, but after getting a reminder letter, i finally called the courthouse yesterday. the woman who answered said to write on the summons that i was nursing and that they would most likely exempt me and call again in the future. that was exactly what i wanted to hear, and hopefully she is right.

1 comment:

The Hamons said...

Wow! I'm so grateful CA is one of those states that has passed that legislation. I received my summons when Evan was almost 3 months old and was able to postpone it. I was equally shocked at the chair's response to the issue. I agree - civic duty is important, but not at any expense!

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