Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Nursing mothers exempt from jury duty under bill ( Online)
By CHRISTINA NUCKOLS, The Virginian-Pilot
© February 10, 2005 | Last updated 9:28 PM Feb. 9
"RICHMOND — Pam Greene raised her hand when the judge asked members of the jury pool if they couldn’t serve. She asked if she could approach the bench to explain, and five attorneys – all men – followed her. Embarrassed, the Falls Church woman told the judge that she was breast-feeding her 4-month-old child. “The judge said, 'Well, we provide plenty of breaks,’” Greene recalled. “At that point, I’m feeling really intimidated so I said, 'Well, OK.’ ” Greene was surprised by her experience last year, especially since the judge was a woman. She decided to ask her state delegate to change Virginia law to automatically exempt breast-feeding mothers from jury duty. “I made it work because I had to make it work,” she said in a telephone interview. “But the whole thing was just a pain....”

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So far, most state lawmakers have been sympathetic. The House of Delegates approved the bill two weeks ago, and a Senate panel endorsed it Wednesday. The full Senate is expected to vote on the measure next week.

Virginia law already exempts from jury duty any parent with children up to age 16 who require continuous care. While that covers many breast-feeding mothers, some women return to work before their children have been weaned from breast milk."

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