No jury duty for nursing moms

September 2, 2008
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According to a recent article from the National Law Journal, more and more states have passed laws exempting nursing mothers from jury service. Indiana isn’t one of those states, although we have a new law in effect regarding nursing mothers at work. Under Indiana Jury Rule 7, judges can authorize the deferral of jury duty if the person summoned can show a hardship, extreme inconvenience, or necessity for not serving. Also, each county may have different explanations of who can be excused from jury duty – yet no county specifies nursing mothers.

So, it’s up to the judge to decide whether an Indiana mother who is nursing is experiencing a hardship, inconvenience, or necessity to be excused. If it’s an understanding judge, he or she may excuse the mother and defer her service, and a law exempting nursing mothers would be unnecessary. However, if the judge doesn’t view breastfeeding as a necessity or extreme inconvenience, perhaps a law would be a good idea. But whether nursing is a valid excuse to defer jury duty is up to the General Assembly to decide.

Some women could make a good argument that breastfeeding children is a necessity and should be a valid reason to defer jury duty, especially if they end up on a jury that is sequestered for days or even weeks. However, some women are able to breastfeed their children with little interruption in their lives outside of the home. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, recently told People magazine that she finds time to breastfeed in the middle of the night. If a politician traveling around the country campaigning can still nurse, can’t a mother who has been called to serve on a jury?
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  • Trying to balance breastfeeding with jury duty is a challenge I doubt even Sarah Palin would be able to handle!
    For starters, most courts would not allow an infant to be present with the mother. This leaves the option of pumping. Pray tell, WHERE would a mother be able to pump, given that courtrooms are not set up to accommodate nursing mothers as many workplaces are. She would most likely have to pump in a restroom... How many of you would like to eat a meal prepared in a BATHROOM?!
    In addition to the constraints of finding a place to nurse, another problem arises with timing. What happens when a mother needs to nurse and can\'t? She could end up leaking, causing her embarassment, or worse, she could end up in pain. Nursing women who can\'t express their milk when needed often get serious infections in their breasts and must seek medical treatment.
    Bottom line, then, WHY put a mother and baby through all of this when she can be allowed serve on a jury at a later time? Do the courts really want a nursing mother in their juries when they may be in pain?
    Also, Is it appropriate that Indiana state law currently allows deferral of nursing mothers to be decided by the whim of a jury clerk or a judge who may or may not have any knowledge in this area that is not in their primary field of knowledge...

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  1. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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