Mo. lawmakers propose giving breastfeeding moms break from jury duty

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by Matt Sczensy / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on January 29, 2014 at 11:59 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 30 at 7:30 AM

 (KMOV) –The battle over breastfeeding in Missouri has moved into the courtroom after some lawmakers have worked to give nursing mothers a break from serving jury duty.

The case stems from the Kansas City area where a young mom now sits in contempt of court for trying to be excused from jury duty because she wanted to stay home and breast feed her child.

Senate Bill 502 aims to excuse breastfeeding moms.  But there are catches - they must get a doctor’s note, and they have to be discreet.

"I wish it was better, I wish it didn't have the word discretion.  Why is that?  Because discretion is up to a person's discretion and it's not a good word for a law,” said Erin O’Reilly of La Leche League.

O’Reilly said judges in the city already give nursing mothers a break on jury duty but the rest of the state is a different story, even outside the courtroom.

"I know of one instance where the police were even called and the police asked her to leave even though she was within her rights to be there breastfeeding her child," said Holly Robinson.

Robinson, a mother, witnessed a public resistance to breastfeeding even though Missouri permits it in public.

'I was indirectly confronted. and what was that like?  it makes me feel embarrassed because I feel like I’m doing the right thing feeding my child and keep them quiet,” said Robinson.

The Senate bill would also ban any municipality from restricting breastfeeding in public.

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