Alabama woman seeks jury duty exemption for breastfeeding mothers

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FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) — A mother in Fairhope has a simple request: exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty.

Seventeen other states and Puerto Rico have such exemptions or postponement measures on the books. When Savannah Ramsey got her jury summons in the mail from Baldwin County Court, she knew a two-week trial commitment wouldn’t work.

“[You] have to build two weeks worth of milk up at home is very hard and almost impossible to do while still nursing on demand,” Ramsey said. “When you are your child’s lifeline when they are completely dependent on you for their source of nutrition you should be able to be there for them.”

A judge delayed her jury duty for now, but she took action. Ramsey started an online petition asking that Alabama have something to exempt nursing moms from jury duty.

“Breastfeeding doesn’t have a set end date and it shouldn’t have to have a set end date,” she said.

Some women say they encounter a lot of difficulties when it comes to nursing outside a home or a hospital setting.

“There are lots of prejudices, lots of judgments about breastfeeding whether it be by people outside, in a restaurant, when we make a choice to feed our children it should be respected,” said Scotty Thomson, registered nurse and lactation consultant.

As of Wednesday morning, the petition garnered more than 2,700 signatures in less than a week. Ramsey said she reached out to several local politicians.

State Senator Chris Elliott said in an email: “It seems like a common-sense issue that this should be an excused absence” and would continue to look at the idea.

You can see the petition here.

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