Breastfeeding and Jury Duty

Creative Commons License photo credit: gadl

We live in a litigious society. Because of this fact, more people than ever are being called on for jury duty. Breastfeeding moms are no exception to this rule. Jury duty is a civic obligation, something that we do because we hope that, if we’re ever accused of a crime, that we’ll have folks like ourselves to help sort things out.

That said, jury duty can be inconvenient. It can be inconvenient for breastfeeding mothers, in the same way that it can be inconvenient for working mothers to breastfeed. That said, there is usually no reason that you can’t breastfeed and fulfill your jury duty, if you wish to do so.

States vary in their laws when it comes to breastfeeding and jury duty. According to one article at La Leche League International, as of 2007 states took several different approaches, including:

  • Excusing the breastfeeding mother if she requests it.
  • Excusing a breastfeeding mother only if she doesn’t already work outside the home.
  • Postponing jury duty until nursing is complete.
  • Excusing a breastfeeding mother if she provides a doctor’s note.
  • Excusing a breastfeeding mother, or a mother who is expressing breast milk.

Some other states provide a variety of exemptions for jury duty, including exemptions for people who are the sole caregiver for a young child.

There are no national laws governing jury duty and breastfeeding, nor should there be. Jury duty is a local and state matter, and it generally isn’t necessary to create federal law regarding jury duty.

So, what do you do if you’re breastfeeding and are called for jury duty? Really, it’s up to you. Agreeing to jury duty usually means showing up daily at a courthouse for a week or less. If you’re in a position where you can pump breast milk and have another caregiver for your child during the work day, there really is no reason not to consider doing your best to do your jury duty. On the other hand, you can also check your state laws to see what exemptions might apply, and either ask to be excused or postpone your jury duty until you’re no longer breastfeeding.

What about you? What would you do if you were called to jury duty while breastfeeding?

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