(Last updated March 5, 2005)

Michigan Hall of SHAME! p 2

Michigan

Dr. Jonathan Vahue-Rubin, a chiropractor from Kalamazoo, MI testified about his breast-feeding wife’s insensitive treatment at the hands of a jury clerk during the hearing of the Michigan House Judiciary Committee concerning Michigan House Bill 4455 on October 14, 2003.  Here are excerpts from his testimony:

 

Just over three months ago, my wife and I had our first child.  Her name is Eliana and she is a beauty.  Just over two months ago my wife received her very first summons to jury duty.  Now, my wife wanted to do her civic duty, but we had elected to breastfeed our child.

When my wife called the jury clerk she was told that no, breastfeeding children are not allowed to accompany mother into the jury box.  So my wife told the clerk that she intended to breastfeed for one year and could she please have a deferment for that year.  At this point, the jury clerk told her she was willing to grant her a 6-month deferment, and that was all she was going to get, because in fact she did not have to excuse my wife at all and was being quite generous!

 

This was where I called.  I identified myself as a doctor, and began to explain to this clerk the risks and difficulty this would pose for our daughter since  we intended to nurse for one year.  The clerk told me that she had breastfed too, and that 6 months seemed more than long enough for anybody.  I asked her if it made any difference that the Surgeon General of the United States now recommends nursing for one year.  She told me that state law gives her the right to deny any request for deferment based on breastfeeding, and that her 6-month kindness’ to us was final!

Excerpts from Dr. Jonathan Vahue-Rubin’s testimony in support of Michigan House Bill 4455,  which would have allowed parents or guardians having active care and custody of a child under the age of 4 (during the courts’ normal hours of operation), to defer jury service, upon request.  Testimony was given at the Michigan House Judiciary Committee meeting October 14, 2003.   The above link will explain how you can help with ongoing efforts to enact  this worthy, family-affirming initiative.

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If you have been mistreated by the Courts in this way, or if you know of others that have, please click on the letter to e-mail me and share your story!