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Women's Health

Breastfeeding Woman Fights for Her Rights

A breastfeeding mom facing charges for failing to appear for jury duty saw those charges dismissed recently, in a case lactation advocates call a "victory for breastfeeding mothers in the United States."

Siri Wright, a Boise, Idaho mother who currently is breastfeeding her 2-year-old daughter, maintains she did appear for duty, but was turned away because she had her child with her. Wright repeatedly had requested postponement of her jury duty because she was still breastfeeding.

Idaho law provides that "a mother nursing her child shall have jury duty postponed until she is no longer nursing the child" (Idaho Code Section 2-209). When Siri Wright was met with resistance from the jury commissioner, she explained that she would be happy to serve once her daughter was no longer nursing. Commissioner Shepard demanded the mother cease nursing her child by a specific deadline to serve as a juror.

Wright was set to go on trial March 13 for criminal contempt — a charge that carries a penalty of three days in jail and a $100 fine; however, Judge Joel Horton dismissed the charges March 2.

This is a victory for breastfeeding mothers in the United States, said Jody Wright (no relation), president of Motherwear, a catalog company devoted to supporting breastfeeding women.

"I hope the news of Judge Horton's decision to allow Siri to postpone her jury duty until she is no longer nursing her daughter adds momentum to the movement in this country to protect and promote breastfeeding," she added.

Siri Wright, who said she believes her 2-year-old daughter should be able wean herself, received word from the commissioner that if by March 1, 2001, her daughter is still breastfeeding, she will have to repeat the process of jury duty postponement once again, according to Susan Rose, director of public relations and outreach for Motherwear.

© 2001 Health Resources Publishing