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Breastfeeding Jury Duty Mom Cited for Contempt

Laura Trickle (screenshot)

A Missouri woman, Laura Trickle, who brought her son to court and stated she needed to breastfed him while on jury duty is being cited for contempt of court.

Holy nomen est omen! Before we get into the awfulnesss of this Missouri judge, the woman is named Laura Trickle, another anecdote yet again proving nominative determinism. John Wayne Bobbitt got bobbed, Steven Spielberg makes movies (spiel, from the  Yiddish spin, is slang for a story), Drs Splatt and Weedon are  urologists, and now Laura Trickle brought her son in court and Thursday faces a contempt charge and $500 fine and/or community service.

Trickle was first summoned to report to jury duty in February when she was about to deliver her son. She got an extension until August, at which point she told the judge she was breastfeeding.

The judge told Trickle she could leave the child with a caretaker and pump her milk on jury duty breaks or bring a caretaker with her.

Trickle missed one date and then was told to return in September. When she did, she brought her son but no caretaker and was cited for contempt. The citation said Trickle “willfully and contemptuously appeared for jury duty with her child and no one to care for the child.”

Trickle says her son will not feed from a bottle. Pro-lactation groups are on Trickle’s side and are pushing for laws that will exempt breastfeeding moms from jury duty. Twelve states, including neighboring Kansas, and Puerto Rico, have such a law in place.

Michelle Sanders, a lactation consultant in private practice, said about 80 percent of moms in Kansas and Missouri start off breastfeeding.

The laws in a state can definitely be a reflection of how much the culture in that area supports breastfeeding,” she said.  “We do see more of these laws that are a little more forward-thinking on the East Coast and the West Coast. Sometimes it takes a little longer for these changes to happen in the Midwest.”

Sanders is a little off-base in her geography. The twelve states are: California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon and Virginia; and last I checked, nine of those are Midwestern or Southern states. Only Oregon and California are on the West Coast, while Virginia is a Mid-Atlantic coastal state. And shaming Missouri, a battleground state for reproductive rights, by saying your state isn’t as forward thinking as California is just gonna backfire. Sadly, she’d be better off stressing some form of  Kinder, Küche, Kirche (children, cooking, and kitchen), rather than

Let’s be progressive like Oregon and California!

Because you know, marriage equality and vegetarians.

Other states — Alaska, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming — have implemented family friendly jury duty laws, which could in effect cover breastfeeding moms.

I’m all for jury duty. And I’m all for women if they think it’s reasonable to breastfeed to do so, whether on jury duty or not. I just don’t think breastfeeding moms should be forced to do jury duty (let’s leave the extreme breastfeeding moms out of this; it’s a very small minority who breastfeed their kids until they are walking or in school); but they should be required to do jury duty once their child is enrolled in day care or has a caretaker.

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Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.