Jury Duty: Exemption For Nursing Moms?

After I wrote about my jury duty summons last week, we saw a lot of comments on our Facebook page from moms with the opposite emotion regarding their summons. One commenter out in cyberspace actually thinks I’m crazy for looking forward to jury duty. Who knows? I might have misguided expectations.

I just keep thinking about that 90-minute lunch break, all by myself…

But. Lots of nursing mamas feel overwhelmed by and worried about their jury duty summons.

I definitely understand this sentiment. So many mamas have babies who’ve never been apart from them, have never offered a bottle. These mamas are perhaps homeschooling or have multiple kiddos at home and face high childcare costs for even one day serving jury duty.

Nursing mamas of older babies and toddlers, who could perhaps swing one day away, worry about their milk supply if they get assigned to a week-long trial. Women who’ve never had to pump before understandably feel anxious about jury duty.

I learned Allegheny County is pretty unique in that the court offers childcare on site! My friend Ines (the swine vet with the pig cesareans) just served 5 days of jury duty and said it was emotionally exhausting plus very stressful to find alternate care for her daughter. And she’s not even pumping during the work day anymore.

So. For many mothers, jury duty seems daunting. And really, is a nervous, anxious, milk-filled mama going to be the best, objective juror?

What can nursing mothers do about a summons, then?

Some states automatically offer exemption for nursing mothers. Pennsylvania is not one of these.

La Leche League International offers some resources for mothers seeking exemption or postponement of service.

The site Family Friendly Jury Duty also has some tips for appealing to the court, which might involve writing letters, gathering notes from a physician, or speaking to the judge in person.

The general consensus is that if serving on a jury will be a hardship for your child, you will most likely be excused from service or, at most, spend one day while jurors are interviewed and filtered out.  It just might take a little work to obtain that exemption.

Have you succeeded in gaining an exemption from jury duty? Leave us a comment to share your story.

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