Norton Introduces Bill for Breastfeeding Mothers to be Excused from Jury Duty
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today introduced the Breastfeeding Mothers Jury Duty Exclusion Act of 2019, which would allow breastfeeding mothers summoned for jury duty in federal court or in the District of Columbia courts (which are controlled by the federal government) to be excused from service for the period that they are breastfeeding an infant. Norton says a constituent raised this issue in a letter to her office. This law would give nursing mothers the choice, allowing them to serve on a jury should they so choose. Seventeen states, along with Puerto Rico, already allow exemptions from jury duty for nursing mothers. The benefits of breastfeeding are so well-documented that Norton wanted to bring jury duty in line with existing federal policy on encouraging breastfeeding.
“Breastfeeding has many well-documented benefits for infants,” Norton said. “Mandating that nursing mothers perform jury duty service could deter breastfeeding and has negative impacts on infants, families, and healthy communities. This bill furthers my successful efforts to encourage breastfeeding – my bill to require federal facilities to provide lactation spaces was recently signed into law.”
In July, Norton’s bill requiring federal facilities to provide lactation spaces to nursing mothers was signed into law. Norton was ranked the most effective House Democrat in the last Congress.