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Discussion Starter #1
I received a summons for jury duty on the day I went into labor with my son. Talk about timing. Originally I asked for, and was granted, a deferment until May 17 because I was breastfeeding and couldn't be away from him for a whole day to appear for jury duty. At that time, my son will about 3 1/2 months old.<br><br>
But it just recently occurred to me that appearing for jury duty isn't the only issue. If I were actually selected to sit on a jury and then had to sit in court for three days or more without pumping, my supply will probably dry up. So really, I should be asking for a deferment until after I'm done breastfeeding - so at least until early 2011.<br><br>
Has anyone else been in this position? I'm nervous that they'll tell me this isn't a valid reason to get out of jury duty. I'd be furious if I'm told I have to serve and then my supply dries up while I'm sitting in court.
 

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I haven't personally been in that position, but they can't make you serve on a jury if you are breastfeeding. In some states it might get into a grey area if your nursing child were over 2 (i.e. they might give you a harder time), but with a baby there's no question. You should just have to state that you're breastfeeding. If they give you any trouble just have your son's doctor write you a letter. Breastfeeding is a totally, totally valid reason for not doing jury duty.
 

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I just wrote a letter explaining that I was still breastfeeding (my 2yo) and I was excused.
 

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In California, they grant postponements for nursing moms, and excuse anyone who is an unpaid caregiver (for an infant, child, or adult). There are boxes to check on the summons, you just mail it back.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I haven't personally been in that position, but they can't make you serve on a jury if you are breastfeeding.</td>
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Not true. It varies by state and sometimes depends on what the commissioner agrees to. See <a href="http://www.familyfriendlyjuryduty.org" target="_blank">http://www.familyfriendlyjuryduty.org</a> for specific laws. In Colorado the only legally required exemption is those with full time care of a disabled person. I have been able to request and get an exemption for bf'ing but they were not required by law to give me one and I would have been in trouble for skipping out if they hadn't exempted me.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks everyone! I'm in Colorado, so the law doesn't say they <i>have</i> to let me off the hook. I requested a postponement yesterday. We'll see what they say...
 

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There are a number of states that do not have exemptions for bfing for caregivers. I live in one of those and have been called every single time I am either very pg or have a young nursling. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> You can call and see if you can get excused, might work or might not. There should be a box you can fill in medical info, or sometimes they just ask when you appear, you can write/say that you need time to pump every 3 hours, etc... I try to appear willing to serve but have requirements that would make it a total PIA if they were to actually pick me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>fruitfulmomma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15367548"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Not true. It varies by state and sometimes depends on what the commissioner agrees to. See <a href="http://www.familyfriendlyjuryduty.org" target="_blank">http://www.familyfriendlyjuryduty.org</a> for specific laws. In Colorado the only legally required exemption is those with full time care of a disabled person. I have been able to request and get an exemption for bf'ing but they were not required by law to give me one and I would have been in trouble for skipping out if they hadn't exempted me.</div>
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Wow. Thanks for posting this. I had no idea. I lived in California for the first year of my daughter's life and for some reason I assumed that the exemptions listed were federal and not state law. Yet another reason why it sucks to live in Michigan.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, I asked for a postponement until after the end of January 2011 so that my son will be over a year old. They told me I could have another six months and I have to provide a doctor's note. Should I accept this as fair, or push to be able to wait until after I completely done nursing? My fear is that even if they tell me I'll be able to pump every 3 or 4 hours, when it comes down to it I won't be able to and even if I am given the chance to pump, I'm not sure how to keep it from spoiling. I guess I'll just have to lug a cooler around with me.<br><br>
Gotta love the timing. I've been eligible for jury duty for almost 10 years and never called, and then of course get my summons in the mail the exact same day my son is born! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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I would personally show up with my infant and then get excused from the pool so you are no called back.
 

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I would get a statement from a doctor stating that children should be breastfed for at least two years. If arranging childcare in itself isn't a hardship for your family, I would have the doctor explain the health risks to both yourself (mastitis, plugged duct) and your son (reduced milk supply, premature weaning) if you are made to serve jury duty before the end of two years and adequate accommodations for pumping <i>and</i> milk storage are not provided. I would have these defined as being permitted to pump at least once every 3 hours and being provided with access to a refrigerator.<br><br>
I know that the AAP position is the conservative "at least one year," but the WHO states a full two years and the AAFP acknowledges the desirability of bf-ing for a full two years. Most physicians are (or should be) willing to recognize that complete weaning is not something that magically occurs when a child turns one and is a gradual process for most families. Even if you're only planning on breastfeeding for one year, you should try to leave the option open to be able to breastfeed longer since you have no way of predicting how easy/difficult your son's weaning will be, how readily he'll take to solids, or what other circumstances may be going on in your life that would make a jury duty induced weaning at 12 months a significant hardship.<br><br>
If they are unwilling to provide you with an adequate deferment and are unwilling to provide you with an adequate pumping situation, I agree with the previous poster who said to bring your son with you. It's ridiculous that the state would jeopardize the health of you and your son in this manner. And if you absolutely cannot get out of jury duty, there are other ways of making yourself unacceptable during the jury selection process <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent"><br><br>
I'm sorry that you have to deal with this.<br><br>
(p.s. I apologize if my insistence on "two years of breastfeeding" comes across as obnoxious or over the top.... I began nursing my daughter with the intention of nursing her for one year because that's what my mother did and what I thought of as "normal." As she grew older I began to see the benefits of nursing beyond infancy, but even if I hadn't, she ended up being a child who was very reluctant to take to solids... my husband is a pediatrician and he thought that she would have needed to be supplemented with formula during her second year if she hadn't still been breastfeeding. Between 12 and 24 months she was still nursing often enough that I would have needed to pump every 3 hours to avoid a plugged duct. She's actually still nursing at 30 months, but so infrequently that I could be away from her for an entire day without pumping and not have issues.)
 

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Also, if you haven't already, you might want to contact a La Leche League leader in your area. She should have access to the LLL professional liaison department which might be able to give you more expert health and/or legal advice. She could also get in touch with other LLL leaders in your state who may have worked with mothers facing the same situation and be able to find out how they resolved it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
rparker - Thank you for this and the information above! You definitely weren't over the top. One year is my minimum goal, but I am not opposed to going longer than that. We'll just see what our situation is like around one year. I just figured that by that time, I could probably leave for the day to report for jury duty and pumping wouldn't be as much an issue. I just can't believe my state (Colorado) doesn't have anything in the laws to exempt breastfeeding mothers. I always thought of Colorado as being on the forefront of breastfeeding rights, but we're definitely behind in this part of the law. I know it won't do anything for my particular case, but I'm going to write my state representative and ask him to consider sponsoring a bill giving more protection to breastfeeding mothers.<br><br>
Unfortunately, bringing my son isn't an option. The web site says not to bring your kids and to contact the jury commissioner's office for free child care. As for creative ways to get out, I guess I could just try and pull a Liz Lemon (you'll appreciate this if you're a 30 Rock fan, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MrpyHZI1b8" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MrpyHZI1b8</a>). <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"><br><br>
I have to report on May 17, so it's coming up quickly. I guess what I'm going to do is get the doctors note to at least postpone for 6 months. Then, in the meantime, I'll decide how to go about either reporting for jury duty or getting another postponement. I'm definitely not opposed to to jury duty, I just feel that my duty to my son comes first. When he's weaned, I will be more than happy to serve.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
This might be a silly question - but do I go to my OB or my son's pediatrician for this letter? I see the pediatrician way more often than my OB now and he knows that I'm breastfeeding.
 

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I would go whomever is more supportive of breastfeeding. (In my personal experience that has always been the pediatrician.) If you want the letter to include anything about the negative effects on your own health of not being able to pump you might have to mention that to the ped specifically though?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I called the pediatrician this morning, and I guess they get this request fairly often. They have a letter already written and ready to go. Once I actually read it, I'll see if there's anything I want to add in my own letter.<br><br>
It's actually kind of funny to me that I have to provide a letter, because the doctor just takes your word for it that you're breastfeeding. I haven't seen the doctor in almost two months, so techinically I could have quit breastfeeding in that time and they wouldn't know because I don't have to come in and "prove" to them that I'm breastfeeding. So they're just taking my word for it. I don't see why the courts couldn't just do the same. Oh well. Hopefully this will be the end of it... for now. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I am so glad to have found this. I am going through something very similar here in my state, NY. I found the people very unfriendly. I checked out the site that was listed above and have contacted them. I have been excused from jury duty until next August, and was told to expect to be called. My little one will only be about a year old and I nurse for much longer than a year. I also have several other little people at home as well.<br>
I hope to help change the laws before this all transpires!<br>
Thank you for posting this!<br>
In Mothering,<br>
Jill
 

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Hi Jill. You're welcome! I just found out yesterday that they did "excuse" me, but only after I provided a doctors note. I'm lucky that the jury commissioner did excuse me because the law doesn't say she has to. I don't know for sure if I'll get called again right after my son turns one, or if it will be longer. If it's right after he turns one, I'll probably just go instead of asking for another postponement, but make sure they know I'll need to pump. I figure at one year he won't be nursing as often and it won't be as big a deal to be gone during the day.<br><br>
In Colorado (or at least in my county), they provide free child care. I guess it's nice in a way that they do that, but I'm not really comfortable with the thought of leaving my son in the care of strangers for possibly three days or more. Whenever I do end up getting called again for jury duty, my husband will stay home from work. I know not everyone has that option, though.<br><br>
I'm glad to hear you're going to try and get some new laws enacted. I'm going to reach out to some of my state representatives as well. Here are some helpful web sites that I've come across during my research.<br><br>
- Get info on your state representatives here: <a href="https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml" target="_blank">https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml</a><br>
- Get info on your senators here: <a href="http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?" target="_blank">http://www.senate.gov/general/contac...ators_cfm.cfm?</a><br>
- This site has lots of good information as well: <a href="http://www.familyfriendlyjuryduty.org/SponsorLegislation/SponsorLegislation_files/page0006.htm" target="_blank">http://www.familyfriendlyjuryduty.or...s/page0006.htm</a><br><br>
Good luck!
 
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